Red Cross Bosnia
Food distribution by the Red Cross in Lipa Refugee Camp, Bosnia.
The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is the world’s largest humanitarian network and is guided by seven Fundamental Principles: Humanity, impartiality, neutrality, independence, voluntary service, universality and unity.
There are currently close to 3,000 migrants and refugees in Northern Bosnia. Between 900 and 1,400 men are reportedly living in the burnt-out (December 2020) Lipa camp, another roughly 1,500 migrants and refugees are sleeping rough in the region of Una Sana Canton, which borders on European Union member state Croatia.
The Red Cross Bosnia (in cooperation with Red Cross Turkey and Red Cross Italy) is working inside Lipa camp where they provide three meals a day, clothing when needed and all the fascilities needed.
Lipa camp was set up in the spring of 2020 as emergency accommodation for migrants and refugees in the Bihać area. The camp was never equipped with heating, running water or electricity, and thus always ill-equipped for the coronavirus pandemic and freezing winter weather.
All attempts to relocate the migrants and refugees from the Lipa location have thus far failed. In December, the UN migration agency decided to close the camp to put pressure on Bosnian authorities to relocate the migrants and refugees from the camp to more appropriate accommodation. The camp is still here.
Other than working in the camp the Red Cross is also working with teams helping people in need who are staying outside the Lipa camp. Bosnia is a transit country for many migrants and refugees hoping to eventually make it to western Europe along the so-called ‘Balkan route.”
I had the honour to document the work of the Red Cross inside the camp, talked with the people living here (only single men) and saw the camp for myself.