A group of activists from Switzerland visited western Bosnia in late December to provide assistance to thousands of refugees and migrants trying to enter the EU-member state Croatia from there.
According to activist Stefan Dietrich, the conditions the refugees live in Bosnia are far from good. The activist explained that in Miral near Velika Kladusa camps, there were 690 people, among them ten women and children. The others were mainly young men.
“People there sleep in bunk beds around which they hang blankets in order to have some privacy. They use plastic toilets. Our impression is that everything was improvised. Things could be cleaner and better organized. It is dirty and cold,” Dietrich pointed out.
In an interview with InfoMigrants, the activist said that conditions in other camps are even worse.
“The former factory Bira in Bihac is a huge, dark hall, filled with sad people and lots of trash. Some say that 1,700 people are living there, others mention 2,100…Toilets there is clogged up and dirty, there is trash everywhere. One of the migrants in Bira was taking a shower with cold water - there was no hot water. People are trying to make things better but it is still far from good. While we were there many people slept on frozen grass. We saw many who didn't look healthy,” the activist elaborated.
However, and despite the harsh circumstances, the activist noted that the refugees are quite optimistic. “We met someone who was returned to Bosnia and Herzegovina six times, the other one 18 times, but both were still optimistic about the future and believed they would eventually end up in the West. We were told in Velika Kladusa that every evening, 100 migrants attempt to cross the border. 70 are returned but the other 30 somehow manage to get through and reach Italy via Croatia and Slovenia. Most of them are positive, and that surprised me.”
The group of activists was able to collect and then give away a number of gloves, socks, shoes, caps, jackets, insulated pants, diapers, food, and medical supplies.