By Nichola Jones, IFRC
Heavy downpours across northern Serbia have compounded the misery of thousands of people fleeing violence and persecution as they make their way across Europe.
Driving rain near Sid, in the Serbian province of Vojvodina, left families sodden and freezing en route to Slavonski Brod in Croatia on Friday.
The Red Cross of Serbia, which has supported more than 427,000 migrants with aid since last June, was on hand to provide waterproofs, boots, food, toiletries and baby kits including nappies, wet wipes and talcum powder to families at Adasevci transit camp near Sid.
Lidija Ric-Richter, secretary of the Red Cross Vojvodina, said:
“We try to give out the food parcels and supplies we have to people while they are waiting on buses, so that they can be out of the rain and try to keep warm.
“We are seeing 800 people a day in Adasevci at the moment. Although we have been working for months on this operation, it still seems shocking. I always think about the mothers when I’m here – what they must be going through and how they must be worrying about the impact of this journey on their children.”
Said Mosin was among the 800 people allowed to cross the Serbian border into Croatia on Friday. After 25 days on the road, the 28-year-old hopes the first leg of his journey is coming to an end.
“I’m not sure how many more days we’ve got before I get somewhere I can rest,” he said. “But I just want to see my wife. She left home a few months before I did – I haven’t been able to call her for 20 days so I hope everything is okay - she’s in Germany.”
European Union commissioner for aid and crisis management, Christos Stylianides, visited Adasevci transit centre, where the Red Cross volunteers are working 24 hours a day.
Paying tribute to the work of humanitarian agencies on the ground across Europe, Stylianides said: “We are working together to deal with this extraordinary crisis – the EU will support as long as it takes. We are here to express our solidarity with all the organisations working to support the most vulnerable.”
The European Commission for Humanitarian Organization (ECHO) has pledged more one million Swiss francs towards the Red Cross emergency operations in Serbia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia.