Serbia: Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support

Serbia Daily Report – February 15, 2016

February 15, 2016


Daily Report:    Date – 02/15/16     Time Worked – 9:00pm-7:00am     Location – Train from Preševo to Niš


Team Members – 9
  • Dejan Dolašević – Medical Worker
  • Ljubomir Čolić – Medical Worker
  • Stefan Milutinović – Psychologist
  • Sanja Popov – Psychologist
  • Miloš Tomaš – Social Worker
  • Ivana Matejić – Social Worker
  • Marija Ghabin – Translator (Arabic Language)
  • Suzana Ghabin – Translator (Arabic Language)
  • Senda Boukadida – Translator (Arabic Language)

Project Beneficiaries

Number Served

Type of Intervention

Male Children 0-5 12 Medical interventions and treatment: lowering fever, dehydration, medical examination of the babies in train without symptoms
Humanitarian aid: providing water for preparing meals for babies, separation mothers and babies in a special wagon with greater comfort
Female Children 0-5 4 Humanitarian aid: providing water
Male Children 6-16 44 Humanitarian aid: providing water, providing toys – for now we have inflatable balloon
Female Children 6-16 41 Humanitarian aid: providing water, providing information about trip, about further station in On Stop Center in Ši
Male Youth 17-30 97 Humanitarian aid: providing water, providing information about trip
Female Youth 17-30 48 Medical interventions: lowering fever, examination of pregnant women
Humanitarian aid: providing water
Male Adults 31-60 64 Humanitarian aid: providing water and information
Female Adults 31-60 66 Medical interventions: examination of injured women
Humanitarian aid: providing special places in the wagon for injured women, providing water
Male Adults 61+ 18 Providing information about trip and about One Step Center in Šid and about process of entering in Croatia or EU
Female Adults 61+ 9 Humanitarian aid: providing water


Questions the Project Beneficiares Asked:
  • Do you have milk, food?
  • Where is the toilet?
  • Why is the train so full?
  • Why does the train no have a place for everybody?
  • Do you have any blankets?
  • Why is it so hot in the train?


Brief Narrative Describing What a Shift Working is Like

We arrived at the railway station in Preševo at 9:00 pm. We were informed about the number of tickets sold in the railway office at Preševo. At the time of our arrival, the number of sold tickets was about 50. About 50 refugees were in the camp at the time of our arrival. The train was supposed to arrive at 10:00 pm, but the train arrived at 10:45 pm.
We visited One Stop Centre and we gave information to refugees that they can buy tickets and go to the station. New buses with refugees arrived slowly. From the railway office we got information that the train will not go until they complete capacity of the train, which is 350 seats. The first assessment was that the train will go at midnight, and the second at the 2:00 am. We got this information from the train driver and railway office also.
After getting information from the railway office at the One Stop Centre, we went in the camp and then to the station. There we met a new patrol of border police with which we have organized the entry of refugees in the train. New patrol of border police did not know our previous organization of the entry in the train. They wanted to organize the entry without us, but in the end they cooperated. At the police station we waited about an hour to gather as many refugees as possible, because border police officers did not want to let a small group of refugees in the train. They wanted a first group of 200 refugees. Finally, we made a deal, to introduce those who are currently in the station and wait for others. We organized a line for entry. Translators helped policemen to examine transit documents for refugees. The first group of about 120 refugees had entered the train before midnight. After that first larger group of refugees who entered the train from the camp, mainly families were coming actually. Cooperation with the police was not as good as in the previous week. Policemen were shouting at refugees but we asked them not to do that, and in the end they listened to us. Some refugees left the train, because they were not satisfied with the conditions in the train. They told us that they will take a bus and that ticket price is not relevant for them.
To remind, bus ticket costs 30 EUR and train ticket costs 15 EUR, at the One Stop Centre in Preševo. Before the train left the station in Preševo we had a medical intervention. One pregnant woman of about 18 years fainted. Our medical staff gave her water and recovered her by the method of auto transfusion. We settled this pregnant woman and her family into our wagon. In this family were two older women, one younger mother, five children and a newborn baby. We put them in our wagon because there were no free seats for the whole family in the other wagons.
The train was full at about 3:15 am and left the station in Preševo at 3:40 am with 440 passengers

Most of the refugees need water. We do not have the conditions to give water to all passengers in the train. After water, they are usually looking for blankets and food, especially milk for small children and babies.
They complained about the insufficient number of seats on the train. The ticket office still sells more tickets than there are seats in the train. Large numbers of refugees still were lying on the floor in the train, between the seats because there is no place where they can sit. For these reasons, some of them were lying in the space between the wagons and there was no electricity and it was colder than in the wagons.

There is a big problem with the process of filling capacities in the train. The railway office always sold more tickets than there are places and seats for passengers/ refugees. It is important to note, that this train line is not an ordinary line, it is an emergency line designed specifically for refugees. A great thing would be if we achieve a deal with the railway office that the train has a seat for each passenger specially and this would allow to easily perform our task. Also, this would facilitate police activities, with which we are constantly in coordination. Some of the police officers tell us that their activities were too difficult before our help. 


Items That are Needed for Their Work:
  • Water in small bottles
  • Blankets
  • Small toys for children


RMF has been responding to the refugee crisis in Serbia since January 2016, by providing comprehensive protection and medical services, including emergency triage, to persons of concern. Our teams work in and around the Belgrade city center and at Obrenovac Transit and Reception Centre, the second largest refugee camp in Serbia. We operate 3:00 PM to 10:00 PM five days a week at our mobile medical clinic located in Obrenovac, with a second medical team providing referrals for secondary and tertiary care institutions. From 2017 to 2018, we also provided services near the border with Croatia, operating the medical clinic at Adaševci Transit Centre from 4:00 PM to 12:00 AM, seven days a week.

Additional programs include a mobile dental clinic at Obrenovac Transit and Reception Centre—the first of its kind in Serbia—providing dental care for migrants, who previously only had access to emergency interventions. RMF Balkans also distributes hygiene kits at six camps throughout Serbia to help improve personal hygiene and prevent the spread of infectious diseases. To improve the residents’ quality of life, RMF renovated Obrenovac Transit and Reception Centre in 2018 and continues to maintain and use the renovated facilities to conduct cultural and empowerment activities.


  • Provide comprehensive protection and assistance response
  • Provide material assistance and information
  • Provide psychosocial support
  • Provide translation and cultural mediation services
  • Support existing medical institutions with capacity and mobility
  • Establish an information dissemination hotline