January 18, 2018
Serbia became a transit country for thousands of people fleeing war and persecution. This Balkan route closed in early 2016, leaving thousands stranded in Serbia trying to move on to Hungary and eventually other areas of Europe such as France and Germany. The Hungarian authorities only allow 30 people a day to cross the border into Hungary, forcing many to try and make the journey illegally. If caught, many are violently assaulted, arrested and sent back to Serbia. It is estimated that over 6,000 refugees and migrants are stranded in Serbia today.
Serbia is doing its best to aid refugees and migrants who pass through the country, but the sheer size of the refugee population threatens to overwhelm the country’s financial resources and infrastructure capacity especially as neighboring nations have closed their borders. This is why international aid, such as the medical and basic needs care that Doctors of the World provides to refugees across Serbia, is crucially important. Without access to care or adequate shelter, thousands of people are increasingly susceptible to illness.