Caritas launches appeal to help refugees in Serbia

Refugees and migrants in Subotica and Kanjiza, waiting to leave northern Serbia for Hungary. Daniele Bombardi/Caritas Italy

Refugees and migrants in Subotica and Kanjiza, waiting to leave northern Serbia for Hungary. Daniele Bombardi/Caritas Italy

The number of migrants and refugees entering Serbia has increased drastically since mid-June. Caritas Serbia is looking to respond to the needs of 100,000 people with an appeal for Euro 800,000.

They’re crossing Serbia to the European Union as they flee conflicts in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Most of the refugees are from Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan.

On just one day alone in August, 8000 people registered in the Preshevo admission centre close to the border with Macedonia. Many more are expected with tens of thousands of people making their way through Greece towards Serbia.

Most stay in Serbia for only a few days, but that could change as access to the EU becomes very difficult as Hungary has completed a razor-wire barrier across its border and the Romanian and Bulgarian borders are practically closed for migrants.

The people need food, nappies, health assistance, shelter, counselling and transportation. Many are sleeping in the open, without adequate access to shelter, clean water or enough food.

Presevo and Miratovac (in the south of Serbia). On the photos you can see Tobias Noelke from Caritas Germany and two officers from Caritas Belgrade Archbishopric. Credit: Caritas

Presevo and Miratovac (in the south of Serbia). On the photos you can see Tobias Noelke from Caritas Germany and two officers from Caritas Belgrade Archbishopric. Credit: Caritas

“For us Christians the first refugee was Jesus, who had to escape to Egypt as a young child. We’re invited to look at every person as an image of God, who is present in every man.  It’s Jesus who has to escape even today, in the body of a Syrian, Afghan, Iraqi. Catholic teaching invites us yo take care of the dignity of every person.

“We are only a small Catholic community in Serbia and we will need help from our international family so we could respond to such big needs of refugees in our country. We cannot close our eyes to our brothers in need.”

Rev. Vladislav Varga, director of Caritas Serbia

Caritas has already been providing aid in Preshevo, Belgrade, Kanjiza, Subotica, Bogovadja, including food, hygiene packs, counselling and other aid.

Caritas Serbia are now scaling up their operations to reach 100,000 refugees and migrants. They will be working in Preshevo and Miratovac in the southern border with Macedonia and Kanjiza and Subotica in northern border with Hungary.

The aim is to deliver food, personal hygiene items, sleeping bags, raincoats and provide health and psychosocial support services to the most vulnerable categories of migrants on the locations.

Contact: Ana Zivkovic, Communciation Officer, Caritas Serbia
Tel: +381 113 616 940 or email: ana.zivkovic@caritas.rs

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