During the reporting week, IOM and representatives of Ministry of Security and the Service for Foreigners’ Affairs (SFA) met at the new Temporary Reception Centre (TRC) Lipa to discuss future developments in the new reception centre. IOM presented the construction plans for the reconstruction at Lipa, in line with minimum humanitarian SPHERE standards. Participants were informed on the execution schedule, the tenders, and the budget necessary to complete the work. Furthermore, discussion articulated on the ways in which the Ministry of Security could help and on the timing for the transfer of migrants and asylum seekers from Provisional Camp (PC) Lipa to the new TRC Lipa.
The epidemiological situation in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) continued to cause general concern among the authorities, with restrictions imposed at both entity and cantonal level. As a result, IOM continued to pay attention to COVID-19 prevention measures, such as increased disinfection and hygiene level in the centres, and reiterated mandatory use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE).
Community Representatives in TRC Miral and Sedra were briefed on the Ministry of Health's current COVID-19 measures and recommendations., which suspended all unnecessary activities, given the current COVID-19 situation.
IOM and partner agencies closely monitored health conditions of migrants and asylum seekers. All the confirmed cases were accommodated in the COVID-19 quarantine areas in each TRC.
TRC Miral and Sedra in Una-Sana Canton (USC) have been placed under a 14-day lockdown, following the decision of the USC Ministry of Health, in coordination with the Institute of Public Health.
Meanwhile, TRC Borići, which had been subjected to restrictions in the previous two weeks, ended the lockdown without further restrictions. Mass COVID-19 testing was conducted in TRC Miral on 27 and 28 March, with a total of 745 migrants and asylum seekers tested in collaboration with the USC Institute of Public Health, Danish Refugee Council (DRC) and IOM, while the centre's staff will be tested in the coming week. Finally, the 9pm-5am curfew continued in Sarajevo Canton with only grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations open.
On 23 March, a meeting was held between SFA and IOM on the operational challenges PC Lipa is facing, where various issues were discussed. For instance, some migrants and asylum seekers arrive to the camp after the food distribution hours, hence it was agreed that IOM will distribute 50 food packages daily, to be distributed to those who arrive at the camp in late hours. On 24 March, a regional outreach meeting, called by the Advisor to State Minister for Security and chaired by USC Prime Minister, took place to discuss the need to improve overall coordination mechanisms in outreach activities between authorities, civil sector and UN including IOM.
Humanitarian actors took the chance to reiterate concern on the restrictions imposed by municipal authorities, which are impeding them to provide assistance to approx. 650 migrants outside formal accommodation in locations in Bihać and some in Velika Kladuša.