Bihac | Bosnia and Herzegowina

In Bihac we distributed relief goods to those in need.

In north-western Bosnia, around the town of Bihać near the Croatian border, the situation for refugees is becoming increasingly dramatic. They are neither safe from the violence of Croatian border guards nor from the harassment of the Bosnian police, who invade the camps for seemingly no reason, steal or destroy the refugees’ belongings and often physically abuse them. The people often have only one way out: to hide in the forests of the border region.

Eine Gruppe von Menschen, in deren Mitte brennt ein Klamottenstück.
Ein Zeltdorf in Bihac.

During our first mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, more than 1,000 people lived in more than inhumane conditions at minus 5 degrees Celsius in a refugee camp located in the middle of the forest near the Croatian border in the winter of 2019. Besides food, we were able to distribute shoes, jackets, blankets, sleeping bags and torches. 

Since the end of April 2020, there has been a new reception camp in Lipa, a small village near Bihać, which is supposed to offer better conditions. It offers space for 1,000 people – and is already completely full to capacity. More than 1,500 migrants therefore continue to live in abandoned houses and factories around Bihać.

Serkan und Oona in Bihac.
Ein Zeltdorf in Bihac.

The situation has also become risky for aid organizations on the spot, as they are not safe from attacks either. However, most of them – including our friends and partners from “SOS Bihać”, who are also supported by the “Aachen Network” – continue their humanitarian work undeterred, as far as this is at all possible.

The Corona pandemic had made field work impossible for a long time. In June, we were in Bihaç for a second mission together with two doctors to take care of medical emergencies and to replenish the food stocks.

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