Bosnia and Herzegovina: Population Movement Emergency Appeal n° MDRBA011

This Emergency Appeal seeks a total of some 3.3 million Swiss francs to enable the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to support the Red Cross Society of Bosnia and Herzegovina (RCSBiH) to deliver assistance and support to up to 7,600 migrants every two weeks for a period of 12 months, as well as 1,500 households from local community for a period of two months, with a focus on the following areas of focus and strategies of implementation: shelter (Non-Food Items – NFIs), livelihoods and basic needs, health, water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH), Protection, Gender and Inclusion (PGI), and Disaster Risk Reduction (DRR).

The planned response reflects the current situation and information available at this time of the evolving operation and will be adjusted based on further developments and more detailed assessments. Details will be available in the Emergency Plan of Action (EPoA).

The operational strategy

Summary of Red Cross response to date

Most migrants in the country are sheltered in ten centres across Una-Sana Canton, Sarajevo Canton, HerzegovinaNeretva Canton, and the Republika of Srpska. The RCSBiH has been supporting people in these centres with food, hygiene items, Non-Food Items (NFI) including blankets, mattresses, sleeping bags and clothes, first aid, Restoring Family Links services, and awareness information about mines and other explosive remnants of war which are a potential threat along the migration route.

In coordination with the government, RCSBiH provides food and NFIs in Bihac, Salakovac, Velika Kladusa and to migrants residing near Ključ. Daily meals consist of two warm meals and one dry meal. Currently, RCSBiH produces food for up to 3,000 migrants each day with more than 490,000 hot meals and 310,000 lunch packs distributed so far since May 2018.

RCSBiH first aid teams deployed in Borici have been providing 20-40 interventions each day to cover when other medical teams operated by MSF and Danish Refugee Council are not on the ground.

In the last two months winterisation efforts have stepped up, with the RCSBiH providing winter clothing, sleeping bags and blankets to migrants, most of whom arrive without clothing or bedding suitable for the cold weather conditions.

BiH is almost exclusively a transit country for migrants, with most people generally staying for a few days or weeks before moving to other countries. Despite the tens-of-thousands of people, who are registered as having arrived in the country, the total number of migrants present at any one time is a few thousand. After arriving in BiH, the majority of migrants head for Sarajevo and Una-Sana Canton, seeking to enter the European Union areas through Croatia. The transitory nature of people’s presence in BiH makes supporting people effectively a serious challenge with little opportunity for long term engagement, health or livelihoods assistance, or protection, or social integration.

In the overall response to the migration situation in the country, accommodation remains the main challenge. Although enormous efforts have been made to establish permanent and adequate shelter for all the migrants in country before the winter, there is still a gap in terms of both quantity and quality between the accommodation available and people’s needs.

The RCSBiH has been responding to the migration crisis since the beginning. To strengthen their capacity in doing so, IFRC supported the National Society with a DREF allocation of CHF 212,733 with the operational timeframe of 29 June – 28 November 2018. An Operational Review was conducted in October 2018, whose outcomes was expected to substantiate a longer-term plan, which was expected to be developed in the modality of an emergency appeal.