Croatian Baptist Aid - November 19, 2019
Croatian Baptist Aid (CBAid) partners from Virginia (USA) visit refugee camps Sedra, Bira, Boriće and Vučjak in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
First Richmond Bapitst Church, CBAid’s partner organization, visited refugee camps in Bihać. Alongside the Red Cross in Bihać, they distributed aid to over 700 of the most vulnerable refugees and migrants currently located in the camp Vučjak, near the border with Croatia. Recognizing the gravity of the situation, as well as the possibility of spreading of diseases, the imperative was distribution of hygiene packets, clothes (shirts and underwear), as well as emergency blankets and sleeping bags.
Besides the distribution of aid, with the help of refugees and migrants, as well as volunteers from other organizations, CBAid organized cleaning of the camp (picking up the trash) also with the goal of reducing the possibility of spreading of diseases.
The Virginia team also delivered benzyl benzoates to the Red Cross, to help treat those refugees and migrants with scabies.
Alongside the fore-mentioned activities, CBAid provided psychosocial support to refugees and migrants throughout those seven days.
As a reminder: Camp Vučjak is located 10 kilometers from the border with Croatia, and is inhabited by over 900 refugees and migrants living in Red Cross tents. Currently, Red Cross volunteers are working to relieve the suffering of people living in that camp daily, with very limited resources.
There are around 80 tents, inhabited by over 12 persons per tent. There is a serious lack of accommodation possibilities. The accommodation is inadequate. There is no adequate infrastructure as well as no buildings. Every rainfall turns everything into mud. There are toxic fumes coming out of the earth, as the camp is located on a former landfill. There are other serious problems threatening the wellbeing of refugees and migrants, such as lighting fires too close to tents. There is no electricity, and a serious lack of drinking water. The lack of an organized sewage system poses a great threat to the health, not only of refugees and migrants, but of workers serving there. The water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) sector is not in accordance with international standards, which increases the possibility of spreading of disease. Over 60% of the people are infected with scabies. In the food sector, there is a serious lack of nutritive value, even though it should be stated that the Red Cross is providing two meals a day (this is the only food provided by any organization). There have been two cases of tuberculosis, as well as HIV. Most refugees and migrants suffer from high stress levels, followed by hypertension and diabetes. There are multiple cases of arm, forearm and lower leg fractures, caused by fights.
Winter will soon come. To prevent further loss of life, an urgent reaction is necessary, from institutions in B&H as well as the international community.
Photo: Croatian Baptist Aid. Vučjak camp in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
This story first appeared on the website of Croatian Baptist Aid and is used with permission.