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.
12 km from Brezice, Slovenia (Camp Dobova)
Report from last night:
Around 2.000 people are staying out in a farm field, with neither food nor water given to them. This area is only 100 meters away from the Croatian border. Some are warming their hands on little camp fires, only a few have blankets. Police are in riot gear, some carry machine guns. A helicopter is wheeling over the area, turning flashlights on the people. People are crying for water. From quite a distance, you hear them chanting: „Let us go!“
Police are kettling up the crowd, no one is allowed to enter except for three doctors from the Red Cross.
The helpers want to bring food and clothes but are only briefly allowed to do so – Police say it would cause riots. After two hours, we receive permission to distribute baby clothing, oranges and water. People are staying out, sleeping in the grass. The outside temperature is 1°C.
Fortunately, we manage to connect to Croatian activists and catch a large group of people, around 1.500, shortly before they enter the camp at Dobova. This makes it easier to provide them with food or water, since police aren’t around yet.
Later on, the police are guarding a large group away from the field, still holding them in a kettle, on a 12-km march to the camp in Brezice. We, as volunteers, now are permitted to at least hand out some waterbottles and carry two babies.
Both Dobova and Brezice (and seemingly other Slovenian camps, too) are by now being controlled and guarded by a Civil Task Force that practically prohibits any kind of volunteer help. You seem to have to get an accreditation.
Today, at around 11 am, the road is closed, the very field were people had to camp out is still being used to herd people together. Mounted police is present, around ten tanks (!) are arranged around the field.
Since the nearby bridge is closed, people are wading through the river that markes the border to come here.
At Brezice, no more tents are on fire.
The previous post was actually about the Serbian side of the border near Bapska. Here are some details about the situation there:
There is an improvised camp organized by a Czech group which mainly takes care of refugees crossing the border, making sure this happens in a somewhat orderly fashion so that nobody gets hurt.
Since 11:30 no refugees have arrived. Probably this is because they have to be registered before entering Serbia; once this is done they will be arriving in large numbers during the night/early morning hours. Last night, there was a pause between 1:00 and 5:00 when lots of buses started coming again until 09:00 this morning.
The Red Cross has taken over and makes every supporter register with them. Everybody without registration is banned from continuing their work. This includes both the independent medical team and the people supporting refugees crossing the border. Experience suggests that even if you registered you would only get a vest and be ordered to give apples to refugees instead of continuing to try and really support them.
Local health authorities and the Red Cross have also banned the supporters from giving warm food or tea to refugees passing through. It has been claimed that the stomach problems many refugees are facing were caused by the hygienic conditions in the mobile kitchens. However people who are with Doctors Without Borders have said this is false, were fully supportive of the kitchen’s work and ate their food.
As a result, the mobile kitchen has closed and is being packed right now. There are reports that mobile kitchens in Croatia have also been having problems with health authorities.
Other than the independent supporters, there are several NGOs here who are giving out bananas, apples and tuna to refugees during the day and not much else, apparently.
The motivation behind all of this is obviously not to help refugees coming through as much as possible but to exert control and authority. This has even been openly admitted. And the people who put themselves in control made it very clear that they had no interest in talking to independent supporters who do not belong to any kind of organization.
A properly organized humanitarian aid is entirely possible; this is a homemade crisis.
Source: Activists from no border konvoi. The information has gone through a phone call and subsequent translation. Hopefully, it is still accurate.