- Title: NGO’s respond to squalid conditions in Serbian makeshift migrant camp
- Date: 8th November 2016
- Summary: BELGRADE, SERBIA (NOVEMBER 8, 2016) (REUTERS) MIGRANTS STANDING/WALKING IN FRONT OF WAREHOUSE REFLECTION OF MIGRANTS IN WATER MAN UNDER BLANKET SITTING BY FIRE MIGRANT WALKING / STANDING MAN LYING ON GROUND MIGRANTS INSIDE WAREHOUSE MIGRANTS STANDING AROUND FIRE MAN WRAPPED UP IN BLANKET MAN DRINKING HOT TEA CLOSE OF MAN HOLDING PLASTIC CUP (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIGRANT FROM PAKISTAN, MAHMUD, SAYING: "This place is very dirty and stinky, nasty, you know. Nobody can stay here but because we have no more options, so we are living here. This is stink, this is bacteria, you know. Because, you see this condition of the roof, this break (inaudible) and water comes down. We cannot survive outside, because temperature is very low now." MAN SITTING ON FLOOR MEN SITTING/LAYING ON FLOOR (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIGRANT MAHMUD, FROM PAKISTAN, SAYING: "Too much lice in the hair. I cut my hair, see. This is not good, but I cut because too much dandruff and itching because too much lice here. All body is too much scratching here." TWO MEN HEATING HANDS ABOVE FIRE CLOSE OF HANDS MIGRANTS INSIDE WAREHOUSE (SOUNDBITE) (English) MIGRANT FROM PAKISTAN, KHAQAN ABBASI SAYING: "You can see, there is no condition there. You can see. There is no medicine, there is no clothes. Look these clothes I'm wearing, look these clothes I'm wearing. No for washing, no for bathing, no food." MEN WASHING THEMSELVES WITH HOSE OUTSIDE MAN WASHING HIMSELF MAN WALKING, CARRYING CLOTHES VARIOUS OF MEMBERS OF MEDECINES SANS FRONTIERES (MSF) NGO PUTTING PROTECTIVE MASKS ON MAN PUTTING MASK ON WOMAN /MAN PUTTING MASK ON VARIOUS OF MAN WEARING PROTECTIVE SUIT POURING CHEMICALS IN FUMIGATOR MAN WITH FUMIGATOR ENTERING WAREHOUSE MAN SPRAYING FLOOR MEN IN PROTECTIVE SUITS INSIDE VARIOUS OF MAN SPRAYING WALLS MEN CARRYING BUNDLE OUT OF BUILDING MAN AND WOMAN WEARING MASKS THROWING PLASTIC BAGS FULL OF WASTE INTO CONTAINER
- Embargoed: 23rd November 2016 14:53
- Keywords: migrants Sebia
- Location: BELGRADE, SERBIA
- City: BELGRADE, SERBIA
- Country: Serbia
- Topics: Asylum/Immigration/Refugees,Government/Politics
- Reuters ID: LVA00157L5PAF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: International aid workers moved into action Tuesday (November 8) to help more than 1,000 migrants complaining of dirt, itching and lice after conditions in a derelict Belgrade warehouse they turned into a makeshift camp have sharply deteriorated exposing them to the threat of infestation and disease.
"This place is very dirty and stinky, nasty, you know. Nobody can stay here but because we have no more options, so we are living here. This is stink, this is bacteria, you know. Because, you see this condition of the roof, this break (inaudible) and water comes down. We cannot survive outside, because temperature is very low now," said Mahmud, a middle-aged Pakistani man.
Mahmud has been squatting in the warehouse where migrants, unable to continue toward Hungary and wealthier EU countries, have been living for months. With the arrival of cold weather, there is even less fresh air in the smoke-filled building and washing at one of the two outside water taps poses a challenge with falling temperatures.
"Too much lice in the hair," Mahmud added.
Another Pakistani migrant, Khaqan Abbasi, indicated that he wears all that he owns, without being able to wash the garments or bathe.
Aid organization Doctors Without Borders (MSF) deployed a team to disinfect the warehouses. Dressed in protective suits and donning masks, they sprayed the warehouses as migrants took bundles of garbage, much of it discarded clothes, out for disposal.
The aid workers weren't capable of confirming whether there was an infestation with body lice, tine parasitic insects which thrive in unhygienic and crowded conditions typical for refugee and natural disaster crises.
Apart from causing discomfort by biting, lice may spread disease such as typhus, relapsing fever or trench fever.
UNHCR said Tuesday there were around 4,800 people in Serbian refugee centres and at least 1,500 outside of them.
Serbian authorities do not recognize the migrants, mostly men from Pakistan and Afghanistan, living in Belgrade's abandoned warehouses as refugees and will not allow them into the already full reception centers.
Unable to go forward, they are either unwilling or unable to go back.
More than 1 million migrants, mostly refugees from Syria and Iraq, swept through the Balkans en route to the EU in 2015 and until countries in their closed their borders in March. Passage since has been much slower and people, such as those in Belgrade, remain stranded in place for months.
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