The arrival of winter and the snow has worsened the living conditions of hundreds of asylum-seekers remained in Serbia and Greece after trying to take the so-called "Balkan route" between 2015 and 2016. In Greece were around 62 thousand people, after most of the Balkan countries decided to close the border; the route has been formally closed with the agreement between the European Commission and Turkey in March 2016. In Serbia, one of the Balkan more permissive and welcoming towards migrants countries, thousands of people are waiting to the fact that the borders are reopened: two thousand of them live in abandoned industrial area in Belgrade, in unhygienic conditions. These days the conditions of migrants in Greece and Serbia were documented by photo agencies, who visited the camps and temporary centers in both countries.
In Greece, especially in the north, temperatures are very strict for weeks. The trouble is that in spite of several thousand migrants live in official camps, and then are somehow protected, many living in informal camps often without water or electricity. Already in December, UNHCR - the UN refugee agency - had managed to settle around 19,500 persons from official camps in hotels or apartments, but some situations are critical: for example in Lesvos, where there are approximately 5,500 migrants and who recently It has been affected by heavy snow.
Until a few days ago the situation was quite serious in some former industrial warehouses and rail yards in Belgrade, which have sprung up in informal camps where the Serbian authorities provide only limited assistance. In one of these camps in the night temperatures dropped to -15 ° C.
Our Team began collecting donations to help these populations from December. Many people have chosen to help us and to give away clothes and objects.
Our mission continues.
Thank you so much.