Refugees isolated in improvised tents in dire conditions

Refugees isolated in improvised tents in dire conditions

Skopje, 14 March 2016/Independent Balkan News Agency

By Naser Pajaziti

Hundreds of refugees continue to stay for days under the snow and rain and in open sky in the camp of Tabanoc in the border between FYROM and Serbia.

Besides the transition camp, in the FYROM’s part, there are over 300 other refugees. They are Syrian refugees who claim that they have come back from Serbia, as there have been no suitable conditions to accommodate them and that with the help of humanitarian organizations, they have been temporarily set up in small tents, but under the open sky, in the mud and in dire conditions.

Mahzum, a 35 year old Syrian says that they are staying there in miserable conditions and that it is not known what will happen to them.

“It has been several days that we’re here. These are miserable conditions. The children are ill, we are too, but we’re more worried about the children. We call on the authorities to open the borders and allow us to go to Germany, as we have our relatives there, but we also hope that it will be better there”, Mahzum says. The Syrian refugee also says that after the ordeal that they went through in their country, they didn’t expect another ordeal here.

A 30 year old from Afghanistan who prefers to remain anonymous, says that he has attempted to enter Serbia several times, but says that he has been prevented.

“First of all they allowed us to enter Serbia, but there they sent us back and upon our return, Macedonian authorities didn’t allow us to enter the transition camp, as they claimed that there were no suitable conditions. Therefore, with the help of several humanitarian organizations, we have been set up in tents. We are expecting to be allowed to move on. This is unbearable. We will start a hunger strike and die here in case nobody respects our human rights”, says the 30 year old Afghan.

But, the conditions in the transition camp a few meters in the territory of FYROM are better. Arbnor Tefiku, assistant coordinator of this center told IBNA that the capacities are full and that there are around 1500 refugees there, mainly Afghans and Syrians.

“The conditions are bad, but we are trying to meet the most basic conditions. In these tents there are heaters and the majority of refugees are not exposed to the rain. We are making efforts to solve the fate of the 300 refugees who are stuck in the area between the two borders and who have been accommodated in small tends”, Arbnor says.

It’s been nearly a week that FYROM has closed its borders by not allowing refugees. This decision has followed the closure of the so called Balkan route.

The president of the country, George Ivanov has sought urgent support by the European Union in facing the crisis, but he has also expressed criticism for the lack of aid. Ivanov said that the country is spending hundreds of thousands of euros a day to cope with the crisis.

The government in Skopje has appealed for a solution to be found which would be more comprehensive for Europe. /ibna/

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