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Migrants at Bosnia camps struggle with harsh winter

Anadolu Agency WORLD
Published January 19,2021
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While most people struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe, migrants in Bosnia and Herzegovina face challenges also due to harsh winter.

More than 700 migrants at the Lipa migrant and refugee camp near Bihac in northwestern Bosnia begin their days by washing clothes and bathing in the cold water of a nearby stream in freezing temperatures.

The camp has been at the center of a battle between the local authorities and the International Organization for Migration, which has long threatened to close the camp if the authorities do not improve the conditions during winter.

Near the creek not far from the camp, Anadolu Agency witnessed the condition of migrants on cold winter days in Bosnia.

The camp in December was officially closed and the migrants were supposed to be placed in military tents.

But setting up military tents takes too long, leaving some migrants exposed to the cold weather.

It is estimated that the camp will become fully operational in three months, as previously announced.

In the mornings, groups of migrants from the camp site move along a frozen road towards the stream, wrapped in blankets, with basic personal hygiene items in their hands.

A 40-year-old Indian who did not want to reveal his name said he has been in Bosnia for a year and that his goal is to reach Italy.

Amun Amed, 25, from Bangladesh said his final destination will be Italy or France.

"I am heading to the stream to bathe, I hope I will not have an adverse consequence for my health," added Amed.

Temperatures in this area fall below zero degrees Celsius during the night.

The Lipa migrant camp, located near the city of Bihac, became largely unusable after a fire on Dec. 23, 2020.

Although the authorities of Bosnia and Herzegovina planned to relocate more than 1,000 migrants staying in the camp to barracks near the city of Konjic, this did not happen due to the reaction of the local people.

Later, large military tents were set up by the armed forces in the Lipa camp location, so that the migrants are not exposed.

With the arrival of winter, the living conditions are getting worse and the migrants struggle with both cold and rainy weather as well as other difficulties, particularly food shortage.