Croatian Red Cross responds to needs of people on the move

Published: 25 September 2015 10:00 CET

By Arturo Valoria, IFRC

Between 16-25 September, 55,000 people entered Croatia. Travelling from Serbia, heading north towards Slovenia and Hungary, most are fleeing insecurity in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan. Many travel without their belongings, in need of shelter, food and water.

At border crossings, railway stations and temporary admission centers, 450 Red Cross volunteers are supporting vulnerable people on the move.

Serving migrants 24/7

Ivan Usmiani, Croatian Red Cross Coordinator in Opatovac, said Red Cross volunteers have been working 24 hours a day, providing food, water, psychosocial support as well as family tracing services to all vulnerable migrants who come into Croatia. “More than 25 families who were separated during their journeys have been reunited thanks to the efforts of our staff and volunteers,” he said.

The Croatian public has shown solidarity with people on the move, offering donations of food, water and other basic goods. Support from companies, institutions and individuals to the Red Cross has totaled over 200,000 Swiss francs. With this support, the Croatian Red Cross has delivered more than 106 tons of food, 100,000 litres of water, and thousands of hygiene items to vulnerable migrants, mainly on the border with Hungary

At the temporary admission center in Opatovac, on the border with Serbia, 200 Red Cross volunteers are supporting vulnerable migrants as they rest before being transported through the country by the Croatian authorities. The trains and buses depart for the borders of Hungary and Slovenia.

While the migratory routes change Red Cross branches in 17 locations across Croatia are on standby, ready to scale-up the emergency response when needed.