As 2015 draws to a close, it’s cold in the Balkans, but thousands of refugees continue to arrive daily on Europe's doorstep. Many are inadequately prepared for the cold, rain, and delays they face, say World Vision staff.
“When I see them walking wearing flip-flops, without any warm clothing ... my heart hurts,“ says Admir Cigic, a staff member who distributes relief goods in Serbia.
While they are waiting to cross the border between Serbia and Croatia, refugees stand in the open, at the mercy of wind and rain.
“Refugees arrive carrying very little, with only plastic bags in their hands, and are often wet from the rain,” says Admir. World Vision gives them blankets, rain coats, warm socks, hats, shawls, and shoes, as well as food and hygiene items.
“Of course I am cold,” says 17-year-old Nesar from Afghanistan. He shivers in a lightweight jacket. The four friends he travels with are not dressed any better. It took them a month to cross the distance between Afghanistan and Serbia, and they don't know what is ahead of them.
“The whole journey was scary,” says Nesar.
The U.N. refugee agency estimates that more than 700,000 migrants and refugees arrived in Europe between January and October 2015, compared to 200,000 in all of 2014.
Photo©2015 World Vision, Aida Sunje