In early February, due to the relocation of a large number of refugees/migrants to the Reception Centre in Obrenovac, the number of people staying in the abandoned warehouses behind the Bus Station in Belgrade was considerably reduced compared to January. According to the estimate of Praxis’ mobile team, in early February in Belgrade, there were between 700 and 1,100 refugees/migrants outside of the reception and asylum centres. The largest number of them stayed in the barracks/warehouses, while between 40 and 60 unaccompanied and separated children (UASC) and a small number of people with health issues had the opportunity to sleep in the MSF tents.
According to the information received from UNHCR, a total of 940 persons, of whom 328 UASC, have been relocated to the Reception Centre in Obrenovac, since its opening. In February, the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration organised the bus transportation for refugees/migrants, once a day, which they could use to go to Belgrade and return to the Reception Centre. A special bus was organised for the refugees/migrants going from Belgrade to the Reception Centre in Obrenovac for the first time, with the departure at 9 a.m. The daily number of people who could go to the Reception Centre in Obrenovac for the first time depended on the remaining capacity of the centre. In February, the number of newly arrived refugees/migrants, met by the Praxis’ team in Belgrade, began to grow compared to the previous period, probably due to the milder weather conditions. Since the refugee/migrant accommodation capacity has been growing slower than the pace of new arrivals, it resulted in the increased number of people staying in Belgrade outside of reception and asylum centres. The number of persons trying to cross to Croatia, Hungary or Romania has grown. Arrivals to and departures from the asylum and reception centres, as well as unsuccessful attempts of crossing various borders, lead to a large fluctuation of people. According to the estimate of Praxis’ mobile team, in the second half of February, the number of persons present in the field reached 1,000-1,500 every day. These numbers differ from the number of persons who actually sleep in the barracks and which, according to the estimate of the Commissariat for Refugees and Migration, was 930 in the same period. The novelty compared to the previous month is the emergence of several volunteer organisations, which led to the introduction of another meal - dinner. The situation of hygiene has improved with the mobile toilets set up by some volunteer organisations. Yet, a large amount of accumulated garbage and the appearance of rats in the area of the barracks/warehouses is a particular reason for concern and another health risk.
Praxis continued its field work in February and provided a total of 628 newly arrived refugees and migrants (374 adults and 254 children) in Belgrade with relevant information, which is a significantly higher number of arrivals than in the previous month. Out of the total number of newly arrived refugees and migrants, 291 persons or 46.3% of them were from Afghanistan, which is more than in the previous period. A total of 86 newly arrived refugees and migrants were from Syria, which accounts for 13.7% of the total number. This percentage is similar to the percentage from the previous period. 98 refugees came from Iraq (15.6%), mainly families, which is a smaller percentage than in the previous period. 90 refugees (14.3%) came from Pakistan, all single men and unaccompanied and separated children (UASC). A total of 63 refugees (10%) came from other countries - Somalia, Palestine, Lebanon, India, Yemen, Bangladesh, Ethiopia and Egypt, which is more or less the same percentage as in the previous period.
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