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Bosnia and Herzegovina: Population Movement Emergency Appeal n° MDRBA011, Operations Update n° 7

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Summary of major developments:

This Operations Update no. 7 provides an up-to-date description of the developments in the field related to the migration response in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) in the period from 1 September 2020 to 28 February 2021 which also covers the developments and RCSBiH actions in the Lipa Camp that are highlighted in summary below.

There are minor changes to the operational budget and short timeframe extension (less than 1 month until end of December 2021) introduced through this Operations Update. However, the total funding requirements of the EA remain unchanged. The budget changes are to accommodate some logistic needs and extra warehouse capacity as well as the incentives of additionally recruited volunteers, First Aid team members. The EPoA will be adjusted accordingly.

In the reporting period, the Temporary Reception Center (TRC) in Blažuj (in Sarajevo Canton-SC) was overcrowded and Lipa camp (in Una-Sana Canton-USC) was put on fire after the withdrawal of the IOM from the camp on 23 December 2020. The situation became tense and the protests by the local population were taking place to prevent the reopening of the TRC Bira in USC. The BiH Armed Forces provided tents in Lipa camp for the accommodation of migrants. The RCSBiH has mobilized all efforts immediately after the fire to save lives and meet the basic needs of migrants in the camp with a special focus on the provision of food, hot drinks, First Aid services, winter clothes, basic hygiene supplies for 1,370 migrants.

Forests and abandoned buildings on the edge of USC were filled with makeshift camps set up by migrants, especially around Velika Kladuša and Bosanska Otoka. The overall security situation continued to deteriorate, with several reported cases of fires in abandoned buildings. Scenes of violence between migrants could be seen more often which has become a burning issue. Citizens of Bihać continued to demonstrate against uncontrolled arrivals of migrants, requiring that Bira TRC (USC) remains closed.

The Mobiles Teams (MTs) of RCSBiH continued to provide their services including the provision of food, household and hygiene items, PSS and First Aid, provision of personal protective equipment (PPE) among other activities. However, in light of the unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic situation, some of the activities such as trainings for volunteers, workshops and community-based surveys and activities could not be carried out as planned initially and are planned for the upcoming months.

The operation will continue focusing on the work of the Mobile Teams in delivering services to the migrants deprived of basic necessities as well as supporting host communities through cash assistance. in addition to increasing the capacities of the HQ and local branches involved in direct implementation of activities; as well as reallocation and adjustment of mobile teams’ services based on the migrants needs. Additionally, community-based health promotion activities have been introduced specifically targeting migrants in camps through setting up medical health points which will increase the Red Cross presence in camps.