The Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC) supports the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) with 452,000 KM to provide immediate emergency aid to at least 2,000 migrants and asylum seekers who are stranded across the country to avoid a humanitarian and epidemiological disaster and to save lives, the Swiss Embassy in BiH announced.
The most vulnerable persons will be provided with 1,800 core relief items such as blankets, sleeping bags, mats and plastic sheets, 8,000 dry food packages, 6,000 sets of personal protective equipment and 2,000 hygiene and epidemiological items to reduce the risk of infections and prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In addition, Outreach Mobile Teams will provide first aid to 1,000 persons, including triage and referrals for specialised care. This assistance will alleviate the suffering of migrants outside of formal shelters or moving along the route, lacking access to services and facing harsh weather conditions, and prevent the spread of diseases including COVID-19 among migrants and the local population.
“These people sleep rough in the woods, in abandoned buildings and struggle with access to clean water, food and basic healthcare. The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic aggravates the situation for all people living in Bosnia and Herzegovina, with even higher health risk exposure for migrants. Switzerland thus strongly urges the Bosnia and Herzegovina authorities at all levels to step up their efforts to provide emergency assistance and to agree on a longer-term, sustainable solution for the current migrant crisis. We remain committed to support Bosnia and Herzegovina in managing the challenging migrant and public health situation in line with international human rights standards”, stated Barbara Dätwyler Scheuer, Director of Cooperation at the Embassy of Switzerland in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
These efforts complement the assistance that Switzerland has already provided in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Since 2018 Switzerland has been contributing with over 5,5 Million KM to local CSOs, UNHCR, the Caritas Switzerland, the Swiss Red Cross and the Danish Refugee Council (DRC) to provide basic and medical services and to improve local primary health care centres, including responding to the Covid-19 pandemic, benefitting both migrants and the local population, it is said in the statement.