Cold Weather Slows Down the Refugee Wave in Croatia

By 2 December 2015

The latest from the migrant crisis in Croatia.

From midnight to 9 pm on Tuesday, 985 refugees entered Croatia. There were 26 people accommodated at the temporary refugee centre in Slavonski Brod. Since the beginning of the migration crisis, 459,783 migrants and refugees have passed through Croatia, reports Vecernji List and on December 2, 2015.

In recent days, the influx of migrants to Croatia has significantly slowed down. However, it is expected that refugees will continue to arrive in Croatia from Serbia. Even though the numbers are significantly lower than just a few weeks ago, the work of the representatives of humanitarian organizations and non-governmental organizations at the temporary refugee camp in Slavonski Brod continues. Volunteers, professionals and all services are trying to make the cold Slavonian winter a little bit warmer. Cold weather has slowed down the refugee wave, and those who are coming are more and more tired and exhausted.

Volunteers are preparing packages of food and warm clothing for the refugees. "We are receiving additional boots, scarves, caps, winter jackets and everything else that we need to make it possible for people to continue with their journey", Jan Kapić, an UNHCR spokesman, said.

In the meantime, Macedonia has completed the construction of the fence at the Gevgelija border crossing to prevent the illegal entry of refugees and migrants from Greece. Members of the Macedonian Army have built two and a half metres tall metal barrier which is three kilometres long. The fence has been put up only at the Gevgelija border crossing, but Macedonian officials do not rule out the possibility that they will expand the fence to other parts of the Macedonian border with Greece. Macedonian government spokesman said earlier that the fence was being built in order to prevent refugees and migrants from circumventing legal border crossing and illegally entering Macedonian territory.

In November, about 140,000 migrants arrived in Europe by sea, which is one third less than in October, when 220,535 migrants entered Europe over the Mediterranean, said on Tuesday the UN High Commission for Refugees. "This is the first month this year that we have seen a decreased number of migrants. That is a big decrease, although the figures are still very large", UNHCR spokesman William Spindler said. According to him, the reasons for the decline are weather conditions in the Aegean Sea, but also the stricter regime of the Turkish authorities at the border.

So far, 886,662 people have reached Europe this year, which is four times more than in 2014. Half of them are Syrians who fled the country because of the war. "It is not unrealistic to say that the number of migrants in Europe by the end of the year could reach one million", Spindler said.