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Vacated Lipa camp: refugees in Bosnia in mortal danger

After the evacuation of the Lipa refugee camp in Bosnia before Christmas, 1,300 former residents are waiting in the snow and cold. According to helpers, their situation and that of another 2,000 people are life-threatening.

The former residents of the Bosnian refugee camp Lipa are, according to the assessment of the aid organization Care, in a critical situation.

The closure of the camp one day before Christmas was “inhuman”, said the regional care director for the Balkans, Sumka Bucan.

3300 people without protection

As a result, 1,300 people without heating and a roof over their heads and, like another 2,000 who lived outside anyway, were exposed to the heavy snowfall and the cold without protection. Some people were left in the snow with sandals, criticized Bucan.

After ARD-Information is only distributed by the Bosnian Red Cross and a few helpers, blankets and one warm meal per day. From circles of aid organizations it is said that people should be taken to other camps by bus – but where is unclear, three other camps in the region are overcrowded.

Aid Bucan said Camp Lipa was “not perfect accommodation” but offered minimal protection from wind, rain and snow.

The great challenge posed by the increasing number of migrants in Bosnia should not lead to “people who are looking for help not being allowed to seek protection from the freezing cold,” warned the helper.

Care calls for “life-saving help”

The local and European authorities should provide adequate protection to the stranded people. “Care calls for unconditional, life-saving help,” said Bucan. The affected canton Una Sana is right on the border with Croatia and thus with the European Union.

With information from Christian Limpert, ARD-Studio Vienna

The Tagesschau reported on this topic on December 29, 2020 at 4 p.m.

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