Number of refugees arriving in Belgrade "steadily rising"

The number of refugees in the park near Belgrade's bus station has been increasing; humanitarian organizations say the last weekend was the most dynamic so far.

Source: B92

On its Facebook page, the Info Park network said that refugees are arriving and the numbers are steadily rising, as "both south and east borders are porous, or someone has decided to help Greece a bit and let some hot air out from the pressure cooker where 50,000 people are boiling."

Most of the new arrivals are from Eidomeni, practically all assisted or organized by smugglers for sums starting from 1000 euro per adult person and more, said the group, set up by the B92 Fund and the Trag Foundations, with the assistance from the City of Belgrade, to help refugees and migrants in transit through Serbia.

In the hotel Bristol park area alone, Info Park and associated organizations distributed 818 meals this Saturday, more than 1500 for the weekend in total, the network said, adding that these are "tremendous numbers, by far the highest in 2016, which shows how close we are to the last summer scenario."

They added that there is no doubt that Belgrade is currently the main refugee transit spot in Serbia with an estimated 600 to 800 people at any given time.

They said that Red Cross - which once provided a generous quantities of food, both dry and warm, and non food items - is gone despite the big demand, while "Serbian medical teams are not there either (and frankly there is no need)," and added:

"There are police patrols on duty doing a good job to keep peace and order in the parks, especially with aggressive Moroccans keen on terrorizing everyone else. The Commissariat for Refugees patrols stroll the parks, 'monitoring' the situation and trying to prevent refugees from lying on the grass. The Belgrade City Water Company provides a drinking water tank truck on disposal."

Meanwhile independent organizations, NGOs and big internationals are the only ones "taking good care that the refugees in the parks get what they need - first of all food and other aid - before they leave for Krnjaca asylum camp which is now open for everyone to sleep."

These include IRC (International Refugee Council), Miksaliste, Refugee Aid Serbia, Asylum Info Center, Divac Foundation, APC, Praxis/NRC, NSHC/Terre des Hommes/CARE, No Borders, HCIT, Evangelist Church, MSF, MdM, RMF and many others.

"In addition, we have noticed again Belgraders coming to the parks, talking to the people, listening to their stories, bringing clothes and candies for the children or simply playing with them. This all brings a good vibe to the parks and reminds us of the summer of 2015," Info Park said, noting, however, that there is constant need for more aid - including food, bottled water, and food and clothes for children and babies, as well as help with cleaning the park from the litter left behind.

Among the newcomers are many migrants sent back from the Hungarian border, some with traces of violence after Hungarian police interventions, while there have been cases of skin disease occurring due to poor sanitation and rising air temperature.

Medical organizations present in the park fear that risks will grow unless sanitary issues have been solved in the locations where migrants are staying.

According to the Commissariat for Refugees, an average of 200 to 250 migrants were transported daily during the weekend to Krnjaca. Most, however, spend nights in that camp, but days in the park, in an attempt to organize their trip from Belgrade.

A number of migrants moved toward the town of Sombor in northern Serbia over the past weekend, due to the increasing numbers in Subotica (250) and Kelebija (150).


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