The European Commission has announced it will release €2m in humanitarian aid to support refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Thousands of migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina do not have adequate shelter or housing facilities; and as winter draws in concerns have grown over their welfare. The Commission’s funding – which brings EU humanitarian aid to Bosnia and Herzegovina to a total of €5.8m since 2018 – will be channelled through United Nations agencies and partner NGOs to increase shelter provision and associated support.
The EU has issued a request to national authorities in Bosnia and Herzegovina for proposals for new locations to host shelters and reception centres. Between 6,000 and 8,000 refugees and migrants in the country are in need of support, particularly in the canton of Una-Sana; 3,300 migrants and refugees are currently housed in reception centres operating with EU funding. The Commission has also identified an urgent need to provide accommodation and support to residents of the Vučjak refugee camp, sited on a former waste dump, which houses over 1,000 people despite having no running water, electricity or toilet facilities; and which is surrounded by minefields.
Christos Stylianides, Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, said: “Winter is coming and we are stepping up support so our humanitarian partners can deliver more help to those most in need. Our aid will focus on emergency healthcare and protection and distribute sleeping bags, warm jackets, food and medicines. It is crucial that the authorities urgently provide additional accommodation to ensure safe and dignified living conditions for migrants and refugees in the country.”
Around 40,000 migrants have entered Bosnia and Herzegovina in the last year. In the same period, the EU has contributed more than €36m to address the ongoing refugee crisis, including support for the construction and operation of reception centres; food and sanitation; and the provision of education.