Migrant Camp Burns to the Ground in Bosnia

Date: 2020-12-24 01:30:33

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Migrants walked through fields in northwestern Bosnia on Wednesday in search of somewhere to stay after a huge fire at a temporary migrant camp where they had been staying.

The camp has been strongly criticised by rights groups as unsuitable due to its lack of resources.

Officials said former residents started the blaze.

Thick black smoke rose from the Lipa tent camp near the Croatian border that once housed 1,200 migrants.

Residents were seen running away in panic from the fire but no injuries were immediately reported.

Bosnia has become a bottleneck for thousands of migrants hoping to reach neighbouring European Union member Croatia and then head toward richer EU nations.

Most are stuck in Bosnia’s northwestern Krajina region as other areas in the ethnically divided nation have refused to accept them.

The Lipa camp was to be closed on Wednesday and moved to another location, but officials said that since its tents and other facilities were almost entirely destroyed in the fire it cannot immediately be moved to another spot.

It was only set up as a temporary shelter during the summer to cope with the coronavirus pandemic.

The EU has warned Bosnia that thousands of migrants face a freezing winter without shelter and it urged the country’s bickering politicians to set aside their differences and take action.

Thousands of people have been sleeping outdoors in makeshift tent camps or abandoned houses with no facilities in the area, which saw the first snow earlier this month.

Many migrants in Bosnia have also alleged pushbacks and violence at the hands of Croatian border police.

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