Because of the dramatic situation of hundreds of migrants after the evacuation of the Lipa camp in Bosnia, the EU Commission appealed to the local authorities to give the people shelter. “It is clear that the practical and immediate solution is to reopen the reception center in Bira,” said Interior Commissioner Ylva Johansson in Brussels on Thursday.
There is heating, electricity, running water and space for 1,500 people. The EU has already given financial support and promised more. Johansson explained that this could alleviate the plight of people stranded in the snow.
More than a thousand people without a home
Camp Lipa was cleared a week ago by the International Organization for Migration (IOM) because the Bosnian authorities had not made it winter-proof. But initially no replacement was offered. More than a thousand refugees and migrants were left without shelter in the inhospitable area 25 kilometers southeast of Bihac.
The Council of Ministers of Bosnia-Herzegovina confirmed on Thursday morning that, from his point of view, the reopening of the center in Bira on the outskirts of Bihac was the preferred solution, explained Johansson. “We call on the national and local authorities in Bosnia to work together to give these people the shelter they deserve,” she added.
Bihac and the canton Una-Sana are close to the border with the EU state Croatia. Many refugees and migrants are drawn there in the hope of entering the European Union.