Refugees stuck in Bosnian camp struggle to survive in freezing weather


By Dado Ruvic

VUCJAK, Bosnia, Dec 3 (Reuters) – Hundreds of migrants and refugees stuck in a makeshift camp in a Bosnian forest are struggling to survive in subzero temperatures, spurring fears that some may die unless they are resettled soon.

A senior human rights envoy who visited the camp on Tuesday demanded its immediate closure. A Bosnian government minister said it could take up to a month to move the refugees to a more secure location.

Some 600 migrants from the Middle East and Asia are stuck in the camp at Vucjak, a former landfill site about 5 miles from the Croatian border, because Bosnian authorities cannot agree on where to settle them.

Bosnia is struggling to deal with a surge in migrants after Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia closed their borders against undocumented immigration. The migrants hope to get to western Europe and find work there.

Some lacked warm clothes and were wrapped in blankets, some walked through the snow and mud in flip-flops to collect firewood.

“Vucjak must be shut down today,” said Dunja Mijatovic, commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe. “Otherwise the people here will start dying.”

Mijatovic added that as a Bosnian citizen whose country generated its own stream of refugees during the wars that tore apart Yugoslavia in the 1990s she was “ashamed” of the conditions in the camp, saying they were “not for human beings.”

Aid agencies have long urged the authorities to close the camp, which lacks running water and electricity. The forest is strewn with landmines left over from the wars of the 1990s.

Security Minister Dragan Mektic said on Tuesday the migrants would be moved to a location near the capital Sarajevo in the next month.

Until then, said Selam Midzic, head of the Red Cross from the nearby town of Bihac, the migrants will have to …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Nation, World

      

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