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EU offers aid, urges Bosnia to rebuild burnt out refugee camp Migration news

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EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Brussels was ready to add an additional 3.5 million euros to its humanitarian support for Bosnia.

The European Union announced additional funding to help migrants and vulnerable refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina, but urged that country’s government to rebuild a camp that burned down.

Brussels denounced the condition of migrants in Bosnia, a candidate for EU membership, as “totally unacceptable”, and warned that lives were in danger.

On December 23, a fire ravaged the Lipa migrant center in north-western Bosnia.

There were no casualties from the fire, but much of the infrastructure was destroyed.

The incident worsened the crisis in the accommodation of thousands of migrants as Bosnian authorities failed to find new accommodation for the newly homeless.

In a statement, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said Brussels was ready to add an additional 3.5 million euros ($ 4.2 million) to its humanitarian support for Bosnia.

But he warned that 900 people were still at risk on the grounds of the destroyed camp, and that 800 more were homeless in the area.

“The situation in Una Sana township is unacceptable. Winter-proof housing is a prerequisite for humane living conditions, which must be ensured at all times, ”he said.

“Local authorities must make existing facilities available and provide a temporary solution until Lipa camp is rebuilt as a permanent facility.”

Police believe the fire was started by migrants protesting the withdrawal of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) from the UN, which ran the camp.

IOM had left, complaining that the accommodation – opened in April but without electricity or running water – was not suitable for housing people during the winter.

Bosnia sits on the so-called Balkan route used by migrants heading to Western Europe as they flee war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. The country currently hosts some 8,500 migrants.

Seriously threatened

The living conditions of hundreds of homeless migrants in Bosnia are “totally unacceptable”, EU envoy Johann Sattler said on Saturday.

“The lives and fundamental rights of several hundred people are seriously threatened,” added Sattler, the EU’s special representative in Bosnia, after a meeting with Bosnian Security Minister Selmo Cikotic.

Sattler met Bosnian Minister Cikotic on Saturday with German, Italian and Austrian ambassadors, according to a statement issued by the EU delegation in Sarajevo.

The purpose of the meeting was “to discuss urgent solutions for the extremely worrying migration situation,” the statement said.

The UN human rights office had previously warned of the “unacceptable suffering” of migrants from Lipa camp, calling for an urgent solution to the problem.



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