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News 15 Sep 15

Croats Use Facebook to Help Guide Refugees

Friends of refugees in Croatia have set up a Facebook page to help refugees get to Western Europe, showing them the way and posting warnings about minefields left over from the 1990s.

Sven Milekic
BIRN
Zagreb
Map showing minefields in north-eastern Croatia. | Photo by Facebook.

 

Croats have launched a Facebook page designed to guide refugees to Western Europe through the Balkans. “Dear refugees: Welcome to Croatia,” it begins.

The page collects helpful ideas for refugees and has a direct phone number that refugees can call and ask for help and directions.

Additional posts contain messages from people offering to donate food and other things to refugees.

Few refugees have so far reached Croatia, which does not lie on the main route taken by refugees from Turkey and Greece to Germany via Macedonia and Serbia.

More are now expected to enter eastern Croatia from Serbia, as Hungary tries to close its border.

A recent status on the page shows a map of the north-eastern Croatian region of Baranja and territory marked with possible mines left over from the wars of the 1990s.

"Please pay attention, there is some land in Croatia with minefields; many minefields are not marked... so tread carefully and stick to clearly visible roads; highway, railway and local roads are totally secure," the post in both English and Arabic reads.

Croatia still has 505.8 square kilometres of minefields left over from the 1990s.

Map showing the way towards Western Europe through Croatia. | Photo by Facebook

The Facebook page also features a map showing refugees how to continue on their way towards Central and Western Europe through Croatia.

The same map is also used for “Avoid Hungary – migration news,” which also features a map showing alternative routes from Serbia to Munich in Germany via train, car and plane.

Hungarian volunteers have been handing out leaflets on the border with Serbia, advising refugees to pass through Croatia towards Germany.

Hungarian police on Monday afternoon sealed off a railway line between Hungary and Serbia, which had been the main informal crossing point between the two countries for tens of thousands of refugees and migrants who have used it as a transit point on their journey .

Aware that refugees are likely to try to reach Germany through Croatia, the border administration has declared itself ready to deal with the influx.

Croatia has sent 6,000 policemen to the border to monitor any possible refugee movements towards Croatia.

Alarmed by the rising number of incomers, Germany temporarily exited the Schengen regime and restarted border controls with Austria on Monday.

The President of the European Commission, Jean Claude Juncker, has proposed sharing out the refugee using national quotas.

According to the proposal, Croatia will receive 1,064 refugees. Additionally, Croatia agreed in July to receive additional 550 refugees and asylum seekers.

Only 720 people applied for asylum in Croatia this year, and of these 720 requests, only 40 were granted, while 21 were given official state protection.

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