The European Commission has announced today an additional €3.5 million in humanitarian aid to help vulnerable refugees and migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina facing a humanitarian disaster. More than 1,700 refugees and migrants remain without appropriate shelter and support in Una Sana canton. After the closure of the reception centre in Lipa, which was not winter-proof and which also suffered a fire, 900 people are currently on the former campsite. In addition, a further 800 refugees and migrants are staying outdoors in harsh winter conditions, including children.
High Representative/Vice-President Josep Borrell, said: “The situation in Una Sana canton is unacceptable. Winter-proof accommodations are a pre-requisite for humane living conditions, which need to be ensured at all times. Local authorities need to make existing facilities available and provide a temporary solution until Lipa camp is rebuilt into a permanent facility. The EU’s humanitarian assistance will provide the people in distress with access to basic items as an immediate alleviation to their current plight. However, long-term solutions are urgently needed. We urge the authorities not to leave people out in the cold, without access to sanitary facilities in the midst of a global pandemic.”
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič, said: “Hundreds of people, including children, are sleeping outside in freezing temperatures in Bosnia and Herzegovina. This humanitarian disaster could be avoided, if the authorities created sufficient winterized shelter capacity in the country, including by making use of existing facilities available. The EU will provide additional emergency assistance including to those sleeping outside by distributing food, blankets, warm clothes and continue to support unaccompanied minors. However, humanitarian assistance would not be required in Bosnia and Herzegovina, if the country implemented appropriate migration management, as requested by the EU for many years.”