Serb minister: ‘Humanitarian catastrophe’ expected after the fence is built


Jessica Fejos

Once the temporary wire fence the Hungarian government is building on the Serbian border is completed, Serbia will face a “humanitarian catastrophe when thousands of people who want to leave Serbia physically will not be able to”, Aleksandar Vulin, Serb minister for employment and social issues told Reuters yesterday.

Although the Serbian government says it spends €15,000 daily to support migrants, Reuters says that there is “scant evidence of aid in the northern town of Subotica, where migrants sleep on the filthy floors of an abandoned, 100-year-old brick factory and in the surrounding scrubland, washing themselves at roadside taps”.

“The numbers are far outstripping the capacities of the state,” warned Rados Djurovic, head of the Asylum Protection Centre, a local non-governmental organization. “The whole business needs to be raised to a much higher level,” he added, according to Reuters. Djurovic also warned that “migrants face being pushed into a grey zone of illegality the longer they remain in Serbia, preyed on by corrupt police officers and organized crime gangs.”

“Right now it’s summer, we can put them in tents and they can hold out,” Vulin told Reuters, adding, however, “what are we going to do with women, children, the elderly, the sick ... when it’s minus 20?” Vulin reportedly said that “Serbia is not going to become a reception centre for hundreds of thousands of migrants. We simply can’t do it, nor do these people want it.”

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