Report from Dimitrovgrad by
Most of the refugees, crossing via Bulgaria, arrive in Dimitrovgrad, a little town, that is 4 km from the Serbian-Bulgarian Border and 60m away from Sofia, the capital of Bulgaria. They have to register at a camp, that is managed by the Serbian border police. Registered people have to leave the country within three days. Some are walking days before they finally arrive the police station. Taxi Drivers are waiting in front and offer a ride to Belgrade for 200 Euro. Usually they buy a bus ticket to Belgrade for 25 Euro, money that is sometimes provided by volunteers. The volunteers camp is located in the same area as the police station with the tent of the red cross and the presence of the UNHCR. At the end of the working day, the representation of the UNHCR and the Red Cross closed before 4 pm.
read the full report
Here are some updates about the current situation (8.11.2015). These are independent information from activists and migrants from the terrain. Everything is changing quickly, so there is no guarantee that these information will be valid for longer time.
Balkanroute English 9.11.15
Balkanroute Urdu 11.11.15
Balkanroute Arabic 11.11.15
Balkanroute Dari 13.11.2015
Following the border closing and the subsequent border opening in the Republic of Macedonia in August, the fight-wing governemnt declared a state of emergency. A new camp was built in Gevgelija (southern Macedonia), far from the city so as to prevent any interaction beween the locals and refugees. Ever since, the reufgees can only be seen on 2 locations in Macedonia:
– refugee point A (camp in Gevgelija, southern Macedonia)
– refugee point B (camp in Tabanovce, northern Macedonia)
Of course these camps are not really camps but just transit tents and pitiful IKEA structures.There are zero accommodation facilities. There are stones, mud, a lot of barefoot children sleeping on the ground. And unspeakable shame. But also, a lot of strength and resistance, both by refugees and volunteers.
The Gevgelja camp has ever since been fenced and the freedom of movement of refugees has been restricted. This is a violation of the refugee legislation in Macedonia, whereby obtaining the registration documents allows you to freely travel in the country for 3 days. In practice, what is happening is that:
Videoreports from Dobova and Spielfeld
Dobova / 29.10.2015 from Janis Gretis on Vimeo
Spielfeld / 28.10.2015 on Youtube
Short Report from Rigonce/Brezice/Dobova
28.10.2015 / Read here
More latest news and infos you can find here and here.
Update from Dobova (2.30pm)
The former camp in Rigonce, close to Dobova, is deserted. As mentioned in the post below, people are directly being brought to Dobova. Although that’s a good thing concerning logistics, the problem is that volunteers without accreditation can barely do anything in Dobova to provide food. That was by far the easiest in Rigonce.
In Dobova, right now people have to stay 24 to 48 hours. Police do not let volunteers enter. They accused volunteers of filming inside the camp and trespassed everyone. Now there’s a total ban for volunteers.
To observers, the whole area seems like a cage. There’s a noticeable tension between the refugees.
Today, the police peppersprayed refugees, and at least one infant got peppersprayed, too.
There is no warm food. Neither Red Cross nor UNHCR are here, only a Christian NGO called „Adra“. They distribute bread, canned tuna, food packages and goods.
The refugees are hungry and have not had a meal for quite a while. There are 1.500 to 2.000 people in the camp right now, plus approximately 30 volunteers and NGO associates.
By now, there are sufficient donations (goods), but money is needed for cooking.
Report from Dobova
refugees and migrants, who had to cross by feet the border last two days are still in camps and step by step will be transportated by trains in direction of Austria. But yesterday a first test happened with 3 trains and probably from today on it will be the new system: refugees are transported directly by train from croatia/opatovac to the trainstation in Dobova in Slovenia. Then they change directly into another train to Sentilj/Spielfeld at the slovenian Austrian border. In moment volunteers have access to the refugees also in and near the trainstation, but we will see it will go in next days…
In general a good step to facilitate the travelling in the corridor and to reduce the suffering on the route. And for sure another small success of the still powerful social movement of refugees, who also several times last days protested again and demanding their freedom of movement against a strange militarisation in this strange camp and registration system.
What is needed in Bobova? Read here, also more informations about other spots
An Open Letter to the Governments of Europe
We, the front-line volunteers who for months now have been helping thousands of refugees, call on all the governments of Europe to act immediately and decisively to alleviate the situation. There are tens of thousands of people moving through south-eastern Europe and the current capacities of volunteer-based help sites are seriously challenged. Given also the rapid approach of winter and problems at various borders, we feel there is a real danger that the situation will lead to serious medical problems and likely deaths among the refugee community.
Every person has the legal right to seek asylum. If Europe is not able to provide safe and legal routes for asylum-seekers, it is obliged to provide aid to those who took the dangerous route. We do not want to see a single refugee dying while waiting in endless queues at European borders, literally in our own hands.
Europe, please act! weiterlesen
Reports from Sunday evening 11pm from Michal Berg
BERKASOVO/BAPSKA (Serbian side) – There might be new route in the next week – Serbia and Croatia have agreed on providing trains directly from Sid on the serbian side to Slavonski Brod in Croatia. Latest news say this could start on 2nd November. If this happens, volunteers will be needed a lot to move the material to Sid train station. Please be ready to help. 9000 refugees arrived to Croatia today. Bigger groups of refugees in the morning left to Croatia by noon. Currently no refugees, but many expected over night and in the next days. Hygienic conditions deteriorating, but volunteers trying to improve this. Crowd control is difficult in peak times. Small tents and sleeping bags not neccessary now. Big tents, 10 walkie-talkies, warm clothes, shoes and especially cash needed there, as well as volunteer help, medical help will be a plus. Trying to find a place in Sid to wash and reuse the blankets. Accomodation nearby but can provide shelter for max 20 volunteers. Please bring your own tent, headlight and high-visibility jacket. Contact number +381 649 366 029.
Urgent call from Dimitrovgrad
There will be only 2 or 3 Volunteers left in Dimitrovgrad, who don’t even have a car, they are from Croatia and Canada, can translate Farsi and speak a bit of Croatian. Here in Dimitrovgrad there are 200 up to 300 mostly Afghan men, some women arriving here, the repression of the officials is getting worse, the prices of the busses rose from 35 to 40, so the refugees start walking to Pirot, Nis or even Belgrade. In the nigth it is around 3 degrees, probably less up there in the mountains.
Things we need: donations [warm clothes like jakets, shoes, socks, pants, hats, scarves, etc.], money for food and a CAR to get the stuff here and at least 4 people!!
Arrivals: Red / Departures: Green