Today, Serbia remains a country of transit. Some migrants and asylum seekers reside temporarily in urban settings across the country while others are staying in informal settlements, sleeping in tents in abandoned factories or fields close to the border with Hungary, Romania and Croatia.
Our teams provide medical assistance and health promotion activities as well as distribution of non-food items to asylum seekers and migrants in northern Serbia, at the border with Hungary and Romania.
As people attempt to cross the borders, many sustain injuries from falling off the fence or because they are beaten with batons or sticks by the border forces, as well as irritations from tear gas and pepper spray. We assist people stranded in appalling conditions and carry out medical consultations for violence-related trauma to document violence and to bear witness of such concerning practices.
Our activities in 2021 in the Balkans
Data and information from the International Activity Report 2021; staff and expenditure figures, and description and data on activities cover both Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
In Serbia, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) assisted migrants and refugees living outside official accommodation, along the northern borders with Croatia, Hungary and Romania. Through mobile clinics, we offered medical and mental health care, as well as social support. In February 2021, MSF donated 2.5 tons of essential relief items, such as blankets and hygiene kits, to civil society organisations in Serbia to be distributed to people in need.
Between January and September, we also had teams working along the border areas of Bosnia-Herzegovina, providing medical and mental health care to victims of violence.
Throughout the year, and in both locations, our patients included victims of physical violence reportedly perpetrated by border authorities. We also treated people whose health had been affected by low temperatures in the region, poor living conditions, significant gaps in medical assistance and a lack of food, shelter, clean clothes and hygiene facilities.
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