IOM Teams Help Bosnian Authorities Cope with Migration Spike

Migration Management Support Teams of the International Organization for Migration  have provided assistance to some 320 migrants and asylum seekers in Bosnia from June 2017 to February 2018, including over 90 minor migrants who are classified as a vulnerable group, said the organization’s Western Balkans representative.

Bosnia recorded a spike in the number of migrants who use the new route, Greece- Albania-Montenegro and lately Serbia, to reach the country and move towards the European Union. Peter Van der Auweraert, IOM representative and sub-regional coordinator for the Western Balkans, told FENA that the number of migrants and asylum seekers in Bosnia is still low, despite the recent spike.

“It is difficult to determine the exact number of migrants and refugees in BiH and the region, because we only have information about the people that have been processed by the competent state bodies,” he said, adding that IOM is maintaining contact with state agencies and UNHCR on a daily basis to prepare the best response to the situation at hand.

He said there are currently 82 asylum seekers in the asylum center, 78 migrants in the migration center, and some 100 persons in private accommodation of religious communities and non-governmental organizations. Asked if IOM has formed teams to provide sanctuary and first aid to refugees from Syria, Afghanistan and other war zones, Van der Auweraert said they have their teams.

“As a response to increased inflow, IOM increased its staff in migration management support teams situated in Istočno Sarajevo and Mostar at the end of 2017. They provide first medical and psychosocial aid to the vulnerable groups of migrants,” he emphasized.

He added they also secured a translator in Arabic language for easier communication.

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