„When does the world finally look at this place?“

Inconceivable situation at the Serbian-Macedonian border - Registration of the refugees causes bottleneck – desperate help forces - supply situation extremely strained

by Steffen Richter, 2015/10/13

Since the middle of September humedica rescue teams working within mobile clinics take care of refugees at several points of the so called Western Balkan route. After being stationed in Hungary, Serbia and Croatia the six-person medical team now treats people at the Serbian-Macedonian border village Presevo and reports on a dramatic situation, which has already crossed all conceivable boundaries. humedica appeals to the German public, media and Federal Government to see beyond the borders of our country and to open their eyes to the unimaginably dramatic conditions at places like Presevo.

„We have already seen a lot in our 36 years of humanitarian aid“, explains Wolfgang Groß, humedica general manager, „but what our team reports from Presevo can only be called a new dimension of suffering.“

After two humedica mobile unities hit the road on the 18th of September 2015 with two vehicles and worked effectively at various places throughout Hungary, Serbia and Croatia, the team, which had been exchanged in the meanwhile, operates in Presevo, a small town next to the Serbian-Macedonian border. All refugees, who want to travel on via Austria into Western and North Europe, have to be registered here, which causes a classical bottleneck situation. Everyday up to 10.000 refugees arrive in Presevo, an overstrained town without any infrastructure to offer for such a great number of people.

Queues of several hundreds metres weave through the whole city. The people often wait in these lines for days, fully exposed to permanent rain and freezing temperatures, undersupplied, desperate. “We work in the cord, treat patients, pour hot tea, distribute food, get children changed, supply people with plastic bags used as provisional rain ponchos. Mostly we run out of clothes after a short time already, then we try to wrap the children at least in plastic bags. They weep, whimper or have already stopped uttering any sounds at all.” recounts humedica coordinator Victoria Wenz-Tappe.

In the face of the humanitarian crisis taking place these days at Presevo and other places in Europe, humedica is bent to continue the help and even expand it if possible. Wolfgang Groß appeals to the German public: “Of course it is important to take on the mostly organisational challenges in our country. But we must not forget that only hundreds of kilometres away a genuine tragedy is taking place and there are people in desperate need for help.” Apart from the humedica teams only a small group of colleagues of “Doctors without borders” is on site in Presovo.

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NOTE: The humedica field unit can be contacted by phone or other electronic means. It is also conceivable to assist the team temporarily. Please contact our press officer Steffen Richter for further information.
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