SARAJEVO, Bosnia-Herzegovina (AP) — Police in Bosnia on Tuesday began moving hundreds of migrants and refugees off the streets of the northwestern city of Bihac and transferring them into a nearby emergency tent camp set up amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The new camp can accommodate up to 1,000 people, according to the International Organization for Migration which manages all such facilities in Bosnia.
The camp was “equipped with all necessary infrastructure to provide the beneficiaries with … accommodation, food, hygiene, sanitation and medical care,” the IOM said in a statement.
The organization previously reported serious overcrowding in six migrant centers it has been running in the country since 2018, when previous migration routes to Western Europe from the Balkans were closed off and the main migrant route shifted toward Bosnia.
The camps are housing 6,200 people, or nearly 20 percent more than prior to the advent of the coronavirus outbreak in Bosnia in mid-March.
Despite strict social distancing measures imposed by the authorities, some 1,500 migrants and refugees were estimated last week to be sleeping rough in squalid and insanitary conditions in Bihac and several other cities in the northwestern region bordering the European Union member Croatia.