Migrants wait to enter Croatia as they wait near the western Serbian border village of Berkasovo, on 19 October 2015. Photo: Andrej Isakovic / AFP Photo

20 October 2015 (AP) – Thousands of people trying to reach the heart of Europe surged across Serbia's border into Croatia on Monday after authorities eased restrictions that had left them stranded for days in ankle-deep mud and rain.

The miserable wave of humanity left behind a field scattered with soaked blankets, mud-caked clothing and water-logged tents as they headed for Slovenia, the next obstacle to their quest to reach richer European Union nations via the Balkans.

Monday's surprise move allowed an estimated 3,000 more migrants to enter Croatia bound for its small Alpine neighbor, which also has been struggling to slow the flow of humanity across its frontiers — and faced another wave of trekkers seeking to reach Austria and Germany to the north.

"Without any announcement, the borders opened. When the borders opened, everybody rushed," said Melita Sunjic, a spokeswoman for the U.N. refugee agency, who was stationed at the Serb-Croat border.

Many had discarded their mud-soaked socks and walked only in sandals or slippers through the ankle-deep muck in a driving rain, frigid winds and fog. Some who had lost limbs during the civil war in Syria were aided by friends pushing their wheelchairs down a country lane that, since Saturday, had been blocked by Croat police. […]

Aid workers handed out blue rain ponchos and bags of food to travelers, many of them slipping in the mud as they walked across the border. Officials on the Croat side planned to bus the newcomers either to a Croat refugee camp or — far more likely, given asylum seekers' reluctance to stop before reaching their desired destinations — to the Slovenian border. […]

An empty field near the Serbian border town of Berkasovo was littered with discarded belongings in an illustration of just how desperately those who had been stuck there wanted to cross into Croatia. Only hours before, its rows of tents had been packed with people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia, and Africa. Now only a few hundred remained. Dozens could be seen in the distance walking into Croatia, many carrying children on their backs. […]

An empty field near the Serbian border town of Berkasovo was littered with discarded belongings in an illustration of just how desperately those who had been stuck there wanted to cross into Croatia. Only hours before, its rows of tents had been packed with people fleeing war and poverty in the Middle East, Asia and Africa. Now only a few hundred remained. Dozens could be seen in the distance walking into Croatia, many carrying children on their backs. […]

Before the Croat authorities lifted the border restrictions on Monday, parents desperate to get their children out of the cold and rain could be seen handing them over the security barriers to police. Many others fed up with waiting in the rain tried to outflank police positions, walking through muddy orchards and cornfields.

"We are in cold weather and the place is not good," said Farouk al-Hatib, a Syrian who was waiting to cross from Serbia. "Our message for the governments is to take into consideration our suffering." [more]

In driving rain and unbearable chill, thousands rush into Croatia as police reopen Serbia border

0 comments :

 

Blog Template by Adam Every . Sponsored by Business Web Hosting Reviews