CROATIA (September 22, 2015) — The international aid organization CARE has expanded its assistance for refugees crossing into Serbia and Croatia, hoping to make their way into the EU. Over the past weeks, CARE has reached approximately 3,500 refugees with much needed emergency assistance. “To reach safety refugees have to endure a dangerous, ever changing gauntlet. They constantly have to change their routes, and persevere in terrible conditions. For aid organizations it is extremely important to remain flexible so we can continue to reach people where they are most in need,” says Felix Wolff, CARE’s Balkan Director.
During the weekend, CARE has also started distributing assistance to refugees in Croatia. Thousands of refugees were waiting in the border town Tovarnik to continue their journey via Hungary or Slovenia. CARE’s partner organization Volunteer Centre Osijek as well as volunteers distributed water, food, hygiene items and rain coats.
It was pouring rain and people were exhausted. Most refugees had nowhere to protect themselves against the bad weather. They are in desperate need of basic items such as water, food and warm clothes. People are uncertain regarding where they can go and when another border crossing has been closed.
– Nikoleta Poljak, Emergency Officer for Volunteer Centre Osijek
Approximately 4,000 refugees are still crossing into Serbia on a daily basis. Most people have fled war-torn Syria. CARE has also expanded its emergency assistance in Serbian border towns. In case transit routes change again, CARE is also prepared to respond in Bosnia.
CARE and its partner organizations in Serbia and Croatia will distribute emergency aid packages to as many people as possible in the coming weeks. In the forthcoming winter the situation is expected to further deteriorate.
“It has rained a lot in the past days and it is getting colder. People are in need of weather-proof clothes and warm blankets ,” says Wolff. “Most people have lost loved ones and had to survive many years of war in Syria or Iraq. We need to make sure that they get the assistance they need.” CARE has also started supporting refugees in Germany. Initiatives include German classes and vocational training for minors as well as the construction of a playground for a registration center.
About CARE International in the Balkans
CARE International in Balkans has existed since 1992. Since its early days, CARE’s program has expanded and elaborated to meet the changing needs of the region’s vulnerable population. CARE mission was to contribute to post-war recovery and the socio-economic development through the former Yugoslavia. Today, CARE in the Balkans focuses on developing sustainable economic opportunities, increasing the effectiveness of civil society to address issues associated with social reconstruction and inclusion. CARE also works to improve access for the most vulnerable and least advantaged members of society to minimum levels of social protection and entitlement.