The Milan-based Catholic charity Caritas Ambrosiana announced that construction work is progressing in Lipa, in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina, on a new canteen for migrants in the area.
The canteen is being constructed thanks to a fundraising initiative promoted by the organization in Italy.
After an agreement was reached with local authorities, the new structure funded by many Italian donors is aimed at improving living conditions for refugees in the area.
The canteen will be set up in a heated tensile structure that can host up to 600 people. Red Cross operators in Bihać will distribute two meals a day; lunch and dinner. During the rest of the day, the tent will remain open to offer migrants a warm place to stay.
Caritas director Ambrosiana Luciano Gualzetti thanked donors for supporting the construction of the facility.
“We want to thank the many donors who supported this key initiative at such a dramatic time for these people trapped in the woods by a series of causes connected to the devastating situation of the Balkan route and the stranded relations between local and national authorities,” he said.
Construction work began at the end of January, thanks to the agreement signed by local authorities, ANSA Agency reports.
The initiative was organized by Caritas Ambrosiana, Caritas Italiana and IPSIA (the Institute for Peace Development Innovation) for migrants in the area of Lipa.
Caritas also distributed aid at the beginning of the emergency, when hundreds of migrants were left homeless in freezing temperatures after a fire destroyed a temporary emergency camp in north-western Bosnia and Herzegovina on December 23.
Temperatures in the area often drop below zero with frequent snowfalls, Caritas underlines in a statement.
Only a portion of the 900 refugees and migrants who used to live in the Lipa camp have found shelter in the new tents set up by the BiH Armed Forces.
Hundreds of others are living in makeshift shelters since the fire destroyed the temporary camp. Living conditions are disastrous, without running water and with few functioning chemical bathrooms, the charity stresses.
Many cases of scabies are reported daily, as well as hypothermia and illnesses caused by exposure to freezing temperatures. /ibna