PRESS RELEASE: IOM and the Red Cross of the Federation of BiH Launch a Life-Saving Humanitarian Operation in Una Sana Canton Yesterday with the Support of the European Union

Date Publish: 
Tuesday, October 20, 2020

 

PRESS RELEASE

 

IOM and the Red Cross of the Federation of BiH Launch a Life-Saving Humanitarian Operation in Una Sana Canton Yesterday with the Support of the European Union

 

(Sarajevo, 20th October 2020) – In order to preserve life amongst the people on the move in Una Sana Canton, Bosnia and Herzegovina, living outside official reception centres in forests, abandoned buildings and public space, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Una-Sana Canton Red Cross and the Red Cross of the Federation BiH Monday, October 19th, 2020, launched the distribution of food and non-food items necessary for survival in the Canton.

Outreach Mobile humanitarian teams of IOM, Una-Sana Canton Red Cross and Red Cross of the Federation of BiH will, in the coming period, distribute sleeping bags, warm blankets, food packages, winter clothes and shoes, hygienic and other necessities for staying outdoors during cold weather conditions.

The action is financially supported by the European Union in continuation of the support it is providing to Bosnia and Herzegovina in respect of the ongoing migrant and refugee situation in the country.

Says Peter Van der Auweraert, Chief of Mission of IOM in Bosnia and Herzegovina: “while IOM and the Red Cross teams will do their utmost to reach as many people sleeping outside as possible, it is clear that we will not be able to reach everyone, as according to the colleagues of the Danish Refugee Councils there are more than 250 locations where migrants and refugees are squatting. Operationally, it will be impossible to reach all these locations. Moreover, this type of humanitarian support is at best a band-aid, and not a solution that will get migrants and refugees through the winter without casualties, unless additional accommodation is established soon”.

He also warned that “that urgent action remains needed to increase official reception capacity in Bosnia and Herzegovina, in the interest of both the migrants and refugees currently squatting outside and the local population in the affected communities, especially in Una Sana Canton.”

It is estimated that more than 3,000 migrants and refugees sleep outside in Bosnia and Herzegovina and cannot be accommodated due to overcrowding in official reception centers in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the closure of official reception centre “Bira” by local authorities in Una Sana Canton.

 

For more information, please contact:

Edita Selimbegović,

IOM Public Information: [email protected]