SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — The International Red Cross has warned of an imminent “humanitarian catastrophe” at an overcrowded makeshift migrant camp on Bosnia’s border with Croatia and asked for urgent relocation of its occupants to a safer area.
In a statement Thursday, it said the Vucjak camp, which has been named “The Jungle” by migrants living there, has no running water, no electricity, no usable toilets, and has leaking overcrowded tents. Currently there are 700 people living there.
The Red Cross said that there are people in the camp with untreated broken limbs and 70% of the population has scabies. The camp only has 80 tents and just five volunteers from Bosnia’s Red Cross Society, it added.
“They call this place ‘The Jungle’ because everything around them is just a jungle, including the animals,” Red Cross volunteer Spomenka Celebic said. “You will see people suffering from different disorders and not just physical, but also mental. And you will see people just trying to survive.”
Local Bosnian authorities last week restricted the camp’s water supplies to pressure the Bosnian government to relocate the migrants.
“We don’t have a toilet, we don’t have washrooms, we don’t have enough water as well, we have only water for three hours in 24 hours,” said a migrant from Afghanistan who identified himself only as Husrat.
Since the start of the year, about 23,000 migrants have arrived in Bosnia and thousands are stuck on its northwestern border with European Union member Croatia which they try to enter illegally on their way to more prosperous EU states further north and west.
Existing migrant reception centers in Bosnia are full and thousands are sleeping on the streets or squatting in empty houses, the Red Cross said.