The freezing temperatures in Serbia are putting thousands of people’s lives at risk, including up to 300 children, the youngest of whom is 8 years old.
Temperatures are at a bitter low of -16C, and yet 1,500 refugees are still sleeping in abandoned warehouses with no heating, showers or toilets and many without proper warm winter clothing. The one hot meal they are receiving a day only comes after hours of queuing in the freezing cold.
Our Serbian spokesperson Alice Aedy who is currently in Belgrade said “the conditions here are unimaginable. No toilets or hot water. They feel that they’re living like animals.”
One refugee living in the warehouse told us “In Europe you wouldn’t let your dog’s sleep outside in this weather. Why are we being treated like this?”
Ezat, a refugee from Afghanistaion who is just 27 and has been in the warehouse for many months, added “the situation here is unbelievable. You can’t imagine it. It is something I have never seen in my life. If you told someone I am staying outside for the whole winter in -16 degrees, they would not believe you”
Alongside the abandoned warehouse around 1,000 others are living in makeshift shelters in Belgrade, facing conditions their bodies are unequipped to battle with frostbite becoming common. The only feasible way to battle the cold, creating fires out of any material available – many times plastic – is causing respiratory problems from the toxic smoke.
In the last week Help Refugees have been funding emergency aid and food and buying winter clothing in Belgrade but it is not enough, we need your help, this is an urgent appeal for funds – help us help them and donate to us at http://bit.ly/HelpRefugeesDonate today.
No attempts have been made by the Serbian authorities to relocate people to heated accommodation or to identify the most vulnerable, such as the sick, elderly or children. Join us by signing the petition calling for Serbia to provide shelter to refugees and migrants in freezing Belgrade- http://bit.ly/2jy7pYK
Photo credit: @aliceaedy, Help Refugees