In a context of confusion and flashy journalism, rigour becomes a precious value.
An updated ACAPS report shows that Croatia, Slovenia and Serbia are receiving more than 6,000 new people every day. “Access to healthcare and psycho-social support” should be a priority.
By November 16th, 820,000 people had arrived to Europe by sea, most of them to Greece (673,000) and Italy (142,000). This is what a new report by the Humanitarian project ACAPS informed. So far in 2015, 3,460 refugees have died or are missing in the Mediterranean.
“The main pattern of movement is from Greece to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) northwest through Serbia, Croatia, and Slovenia towards Austria and Germany.”
Updated data from November 2015 show that 6,921 persons are arriving every day to the FYROM. Croatia (6,853 / day), Slovenia (6,685 / day), and Serbia (6,342 / day) were the other countries with most people.
In 2015, 52% of the refugees and asylum seekers coming to Europe are from Syria, 10% from Afganistan and 6% from Iraq.
BALKAN ROUTE CONTINUES TO GROW
“Several months after the beginning of the crisis, the number of people moving along the eastern Mediterranean–western Balkans route continues to grow”, ACAPS informs. “Despite the onset of winter, it is not expected that these movements will decrease.”
“Between November 2015 and February 2016, UNHCR anticipates an average of 5,000 arrivals per day from Turkey, resulting in up to 600,000 arrivals into Croatia, Greece, Serbia, Slovenia and the FYROM.”
The reality is that “very few recent arrivals are pursuing asylum in the Balkan countries. Local and international capacities are under strain, and the arrival of winter is expected to exacerbate needs.”
WINTER: THE ROUTES COULD CHANGE
“Given the volatile and fast-evolving situation, travel routes may again change in the coming weeks, leading to an increase in the number of affected countries and the points at which winterisation assistance will have to be provided”, the report says.
“Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Italy, Montenegro, Romania, and Kosovo may be affected.”
DANGERS: TRAFFICKING, ABDUCTIONS, ABUSES…
The ACAPS report quotes UNHCR and UNICEF to say that “family separation is a major concern, especially when boarding buses and trains.”
“Unaccompanied children and women are particularly vulnerable to exploitation by traffickers and other perpetrators of abuse. There are also reports of attempted abductions of children, as families with children receive priority access to services such as transport and food.”
Social tensions arise in several countries. “Tensions between asylum seekers and host communities are frequent, as well as among asylum seekers, particularly in transit centres. Incidents of discrimination and violence against asylum seekers have been reported.”
PRIORITIES FOR INTERVENTION
To tackle the situation, these are the priorities, according to the report:
- Shelter: winterisation assistance and heating in reception centres
- NFIs: blankets and winter clothes
- Protection: specialised services for unaccompanied and separated children, older people, pregnant and lactating women, infants and young children, and people with disabilities who have specific needs in transit and for accommodation.
- WASH: improved and expanded (winterised) WASH facilities at reception and accommodation centres and access to drinking water.
- Health: access to healthcare and psycho-social support. Prevention and treatment of hypothermia and other cold-related pathologies.
ACAPS is a “project to support coordinated humanitarian needs assessments.” The organisations behind the initiative believe “humanitarian aid should be based on a clear understanding of the needs of the affected population.” This is why they produce weekly analyses.
Read the full “The Balkans. Asylum seekers, migrants, and refugees in transit” report.