Teenagers forced to flee war and violence

Publié: 11 octobre 2016 18:22 CET

By Caroline Haga, IFRC

As darkness falls and temperatures drop, a long queue of men and women are waiting in line at the Krnjaca reception centre on the outskirts of Belgrade. The Red Cross of Serbia is about to begin distributing food parcels, bread, baby food, diapers and basic toiletries.

The more than 1,000 people at the centre are among the 6,000 registered migrants who have been stranded across Serbia since the Western Balkan route closed more than six months ago. Teenagers Hisna and Abdul are among them.

Hisna from Iraq: “I’m scared about our future”

Hisna from Iraq is 16 and is waiting with her father and baby sister Linda in Serbia for the chance to reunite with her five siblings in Germany. She stands at the distribution point holding two-year-old Linda as they wait for her father Pigo, 60, to collect the food parcels and toiletries.

“We were living in Dohuk in Kurdistan but when the situation got too scary we had to leave,” says Hisna.

 “We are hoping to reunite with my three sisters and two brothers who are all in Germany. Unfortunately, my mother  could not join us on this difficult journey.”

The trio has been waiting in Serbia for almost two months without any information about what will happen to them.

“I’m scared about our future and hope that we all can soon be together again,” the 16-year-old says.

Abdul from Afghanistan: “They stole and burned everything I had”

“I left my home country more than six months ago  - when I got to Iran, I walked from there to Serbia,” explains  17-year-old Abdul*. He set out on the journey to escape the violence, threats and bomb blasts in his home city of Jalalabad in eastern Afghanistan.

During his long journey Abdul lost everything.  “In Bulgaria I was beaten along with the group I was travelling with. They stole and burned everything I had. My passport, my ID card – everything,” he says.

Abdul says he is relieved to have reached Serbia safely and to have access to temporary shelter. At least, he says, he is without threats of violence in Belgrade.

“I don’t know where I’ll find myself but I hope it is somewhere safe where I can live in peace,” he said.

“I would try to quickly learn the local language so that I can apply for university.

“Economics and journalism are my two favourite subjects.”

Red Cross operations in Serbia are funded by the IFRC’s emergency appeal of more than 2,8 million Swiss francs, which includes financial support from the EU’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) and other donors.

*Name has been changed to protect identity