Sarajevo, Dec 31 (efe-epa).- International refugee agencies have called on authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina to provide shelter to 900 migrants forced to survive in freezing temperatures without proper accommodation for over a week after their camp burned to the ground.
The International Organization for Migration and the UN’s refugee office ACNUR said in a joint letter cited by local press that Bosnian officials must offer “security and protection” to the migrants, who are exposed to hypothermia and whose situation worsens “day by day” as winter temperatures take hold.
The IOM tweeted on Wednesday: “Some 900 migrants, refugees and asylum seekers spent last night in the cold, after the buses that should have taken them to a temporary facility following the closure of the Lipa camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina never left the site.
“In the absence of any solution, people were disembarked from buses and returned to Lipa where they face once again freezing temperatures with no shelter on site.
“We call for an immediate solution for all those who have been kept in dire humanitarian conditions for more than a week.”
The Lipa refugee camp burned down on 23 December. Officials intended to accommodate some of the migrants at a center in the nearby city of Bihac, near the Croatian border, however, some local authorities and residents protested outside the center to prevent the process from going ahead.
Regional N1 TV reported that the Bosnian government would push forward with the plan to relocate the Lipa refugees despite the anti-migrant protests.
Some 900 people are currently living in inhumane conditions, without access to drinking water, electricity or heating while temperatures have dropped below freezing. EFE-EPA