With winter approaching and thousands of migrants and refugees in Bosnia and Herzegovina living outside of adequate facilities, the European Commission has today announced an additional €2 million in humanitarian aid. This brings EU humanitarian aid in the country to €5.8 million since 2018.
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.”
The EU has requested proposals of new locations to host refugees and migrants from national authorities. This is urgently needed due to the approaching winter. Furthermore, persons of concern accommodated in inadequate conditions, such as the Vucjak site, need to be urgently hosted in appropriate accommodation.
According to estimates, there are between 6,000 to 8,000 refugees and migrants in need of assistance currently in the country, mostly in the Una-Sana Canton. Due to the lack of accommodation capacities, nearly half of the migrants and refugees are living outside of the facilities. Approximately, 3,300 are accommodated in five EU-funded temporary reception centres.
EU aid will be channelled through UN agencies and NGOs who are already providing assistance on the ground.
The European Union has been helping the refugees and migrants in need of assistance transiting through the Western Balkans. Since 2018, the EU has contributed so far €36 million to address the refugee crisis in the country, which includes over €30 million of special measure funding announced in 2018 and 2019 under the Instrument for Pre-Accession Assistance. This is in addition to €24.6 million assistance the European Union has provided to Bosnia and Herzegovina in the area of asylum, migration and border management since 2007. This includes support for reception facilities, sanitation, food, clothing and provision of education under the Instrument for pre-accession assistance. The country has also benefited from the regional programme ‘Support to Protection-Sensitive Migration Management’ worth up to €14.5 million.