Islamic Relief are supporting refugee communities in the aftermath of a devastating fire in a migrant camp, which was closed by local authorities just hours before.

A fast-moving fire has destroyed the Lipa camp, close to the border with Croatia.

Over 3,000 people are in urgent need of humanitarian assistance as the closure and fire in the camp has left them without shelter, protection and warmth. Many people are sleeping on the streets outside of the reception centres in freezing conditions, and are also at greater risk from Covid-19.

There is an urgent need of food, warm clothing, medical assistance, blankets and shelter, as temperatures in Bosnia are expected to fall as low as -4 degrees.

In recent years, 67,830 refugees, migrants and asylum seekers have entered Bosnia in an attempt to reach the EU, 14,556 of which arrived in 2020 alone. The Lipa camp was opened in March 2020 as an emergency response to the Covid-19 pandemic and ensure all those living on the streets were sheltered and protected. The authorities had promised water and electricity provision alongside road access, however none of these were provided. The International Organizaion for Migration (IOM) officially closed the camp on 23 December, and a fire broke out hours later.

With limited capacity at nearby camps and shelters, the situation for thousands of vulnerable people is alarming. Some chose to return to the burnt camp to collect their belongings and seek shelter, where one tent structure is still standing. However it is extremely fragile and could collapse at any moment.

On the 30 December 2020, the IOM has moved some migrants to a new camp. However, hundreds of vulnerable people are still sleeping on the streets outside the centre.

Islamic Relief is working closely with local authorities, humanitarian partners and the IOM to provide vital, life-saving support to those left even more vulnerable due to the camp fire.

So far, we have provided food to 1,200 people affected by the fire.

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