Hundreds of migrants and refugees stuck in a makeshift camp in a Bosnian forest are struggling to survive in subzero temperatures as snow weighs down on their tents, spurring fears that some may die unless they are resettled soon.
A senior human rights envoy who visited the camp on Tuesday demanded its immediate closure, though a Bosnian government minister said it could take up to a month to move the refugees to a more secure location.
“People are people, not animals,” said Mauloddin, 24, an Afghan who set off for Europe 3-1/2 years ago. “You see, … it’s very cold weather, (there is) no sleeping, no food.”
Mauloddin is among some 600 migrants from the Middle East and Asia stuck in the camp at Vucjak, a former landfill site about 8 km (5 miles) from the Croatian border because Bosnian authorities cannot agree on where to settle them.
Bosnia is struggling to deal with an upsurge in migrant numbers since Croatia, Hungary, and Slovenia closed their borders against undocumented immigration. The migrants hope to get to wealthy western Europe and find work there.
Some lacked warm clothes and were wrapped in blankets, some traipsed through the snow and mud in flip-flops to collect firewood. One man brushed the snow from the roof of his tent to prevent it from collapsing.