A new humanitarian mission of Sant'Egidio in Bihać, to meet refugees of the "Balkan route".refugeesBosnia Humanitarian emergencies
The people of Sant'Egidio had promised to the young refugees they met along the Balkan route last winter they would come back again. Indeed, they are back in Bihać, Bosnia, for the fifth humanitarian mission organised by the Communities of Padua, Treviso and Trieste.
While snow and cold made the migrants' conditions particularly harsh last winter, the situation has not improved with the suffocating heat of these days. In a motionless scenario, people are visibly exhausted.
"Bihać," they tell us, "is suffocated by asphyxiating heat, and the migrants seek refreshment in fountains and waterways. Most of them are young Afghans and Pakistanis with mild eyes, smiling and responding benevolently to the greetings, condemned to starvation amidst rubbish and stray dogs. The city has tried to empty out the so-called jungles - some informal settlements - which are now confined to the woods outside the city boundaries".
"The idea", explain Hamid and Hasheem, cultural mediators with the Jesuit Refugee Service, "is to collect the migrants into the large Lipa camp, thus limiting the spread of bivouacs. It is forbidden to distribute food, only clothing, shoes, sleeping bags and backpacks may be distributed."
These items have been delivered by Sant'Egidio during its mission, while efforts are being made to organise new initiatives for the summer period. Our concern is to help as much as possible these very young and very poor refugees, deprived of everything but the hope of a better life.