Bosnia & Herzegovina

BiH: Caritas builds new canteen for migrants in Lipa camp

Milan-based Catholic charity Caritas Ambrosiana announced that construction work is progressing in Lipa, northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina, in a new canteen for migrants in the area.

The canteen is being built thanks to a fundraising initiative promoted by the organization in Italy.

After reaching an agreement with local authorities, the new structure, funded by many Italian donors, aims to improve living conditions for refugees in the area.

The canteen will be housed in an attractive hot structure that can accommodate up to 600 people. Bihać Red Cross operators will distribute two meals a day; lunch and dinner. For the rest of the day, the tent will remain open to offer migrants a warm place to stay.

Caritas Ambrosiana Director Luciano Gualzetti thanked the donors for supporting the construction of the facility.

“We want to thank many donors who supported this key initiative at such a dramatic time for these people trapped in the forest for a variety of reasons related to the devastating Balkan road situation and the strained relations between local and national authorities,” he said.

Construction work began in late January, thanks to an agreement signed by local authorities, reports the ANSA Agency.

The initiative was organized by Caritas Ambrosiana, Caritas Italiana and IPSIA (Institute for Peace Development Innovation) for migrants in the Lipa area.

Caritas also distributed emergency aid early on, when hundreds of migrants were left homeless in freezing temperatures after a fire destroyed a temporary emergency camp in northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina on December 23rd.

Temperatures in the area often drop below zero with frequent snowfall, Caritas notes in a statement.

Only a fraction of the 900 refugees and migrants who previously lived in the Lipa camp have found refuge in new tents set up by the BiH Armed Forces.

Hundreds more are living in makeshift shelters since the fire destroyed the makeshift camp. Living conditions are catastrophic, with no running water and some chemical baths in operation, the charity said.

Many cases of scabies are reported daily, as well as hypothermia and illness caused by exposure to freezing temperatures.

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