Serbia: Refugee and Asylum Seeker Support
Serbia Progress Report – April 4-May 18, 2016
July 22, 2016
Summary of Activities
In rainy weather, daily some 260 asylum seekers, including many women and children, waited to be admitted to the two “transit zones” near the Kelebija and Horgos I border crossings. Sanitary conditions remain of grave concern. There are no toilets or facilities to take a shower. Requests to place chemical toilets are pending approval from authorities. We were told this would not be approved as neither the Hungarian nor Serbian governments wish for people to stay in no-man’s land; they “do not want another Idomeni on this border.” 15 families with children are allowed to enter Hungary each day, but only 2 single men. Lunch packages, water bottles, jackets, raincoats, and blankets are needed, as well as food and non-food aid for both adults and children. 41% of the population are minors.
RMF’s Belgrade team facilitated an assessment of medical needs on May 11th. MSF (Médecins Sans Frontières) is working across three sites in the north, and at this stage it appears that the medical needs are largely covered in these areas. The current gaps are primarily in the provision of essential humanitarian aid: food, water, shoes, clean clothes, and hygiene kits. As the situation at the border further deteriorates, more refugees will be returning to Belgrade, where there are clear gaps in provision of medical aid.
Liberating Human Potential
A Whole Person
Currently RMF is the only medical care provider that facilitates holistic care. If required, our team of doctors and translators also stays with the patient during his or her entire treatment and upon conclusion of treatment, provides transportation to the refugee camp Krnjača or a hostel. We treat each patient as a whole person.
Creating a Foundation
Our New Office
At the beginning of this reporting period RMF took possession of an office and we finalized payment and possession of our vehicle. We returned the rental car we had been using for the first 6 weeks of project implementation. In an effort to support the local economy a number of work tables were ordered from a local carpenter.
More Helping Hands
Serving Asylum Seekers
RMF Serbia currently employs 15 staff members, including the Program Director. All staff have signed our Child Protection Policy, Use of Images of Children Policy and Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Policy. Other internal systems and policies are in development.
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