Western Balkans - Refugee Crisis (ECHO, UNHCR, NGOs)
As the influx of refugees through the Western Balkans continues, the EU approved additional €17 million to support Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia to cope with refugee influx. DG ECHO will manage €7 million out of this additional funding to address humanitarian needs; including health services, distribution of food, hygiene and basic non-food items for the winter, among other priorities.
Latest estimates from the Serbian Ministry of the Interior indicate that more than 207,000 refugees and migrants have been registered by the authorities since the beginning of the year. According to UNHCR, the number of entries from former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continue to be high. During the weekend more than 5,000 refugees were registered daily following a peak of 6,300 registrations recorded on 9 October.
Continuously high numbers of arrivals, the drop in temperatures and frequent rains have prompted the reinforcement of transport capacities from the Miratovac crossing point between the two countries to the Presevo registration and reception centre. Serbian authorities have been working on the expansion of registration capacities at Presevo since late September. The reception facilities have also been expanded and reorganised in order to improve the provision of basic assistance, hygiene and health services for all accessing the place for registration. In order to keep up with the constant arrival of refugees transiting through the country, the Government has decided to open an additional centre in Bujanovac some 30km north of Presevo. Transport from the southern border to the reception centres in Presevo and Bujanovac will also be facilitated by train.
In Belgrade, UNHCR, the Serbian Red Cross and NGOs continue providing basic assistance, including winter items, to refugees and migrants in the capital. Aid points near the bus and train stations have assisted more than 250 people daily in the past two weeks.