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Migrants in Bosnia face deadly winter conditions

Credit: Reuters - Politics
Published on November 9, 2019 - Duration: 01:49s

Migrants in Bosnia face deadly winter conditions

The lives of hundreds of migrants from the Middle East and Asia living in a camp in the forests of Bosnia are at risk, as the bitter Balkan winter approaches, an official with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM) said this week.

Emily Spychal reports.

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Migrants in Bosnia face deadly winter conditions

The lives of these migrants from the Middle East and Asia are at risk.

That's the serious warning from the International Organization for Migration.

As temperatures drop, the hundreds living here in this forest camp in Bosnia are in danger as the bitter Balkan winter approaches.

Aid agencies are urging the authorities to close this camp and find better accommodation for the migrants as the weather starts to turn.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) WESTERN BALKANS COORDINATOR FOR INTERNATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR MIGRATION, PETER VAN DER AUWERAERT SAYING: "If people stay there for the winter, people will die.

And they're not going to die in five months' time, they will die in a couple of days or a few weeks' time because the temperatures are going down very rapidly." The site lacks running water and electricity.

And the nearby woods are littered with landmines left over from the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s.

With temperatures close to zero, police officers have had to restrain migrants quarreling over the small amounts of food provided by the local Red Cross.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) MIGRANT WHO SAYS HE IS FROM PAKISTAN, HABIB AL BASHAD, SAYING: "The situation is very bad, you see that.

We have a lot of problems. Tents problem, we are sleeping for two days in this poor tent, there are no beds, we are sleeping on the stones.

The other necessary things are not available here, like bathrooms. We just take one bath in six days." Bosnia has faced an upsurge in migrant numbers since Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia closed their borders against undocumented immigration.

More than 40,000 migrants have entered Bosnia since 2018.

Nearly one-fifth are children.

Bosnian authorities have not been able to decide on where to house the migrants that are stuck in their country.

The tents aren't enough to keep these men warm this winter let alone the flip flops many of them arrived wearing.

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