Belgrade, Serbia – Hundreds of refugees, mainly from Afghanistan and Pakistan, are living in miserable conditions in makeshift camps and abandoned warehouses in Serbia.
In a warehouse behind the Belgrade train station, the conditions are deplorable. Refugees seeking protection here brave winter temperatures, which can drop to minus 15 ° C, surrounded by mud, snow and ice and an inexorable cold wind blowing through the tunnels and broken windows.
The air in the camp is saturated with the smoke from the fires that keep them warm.
People sleep on the floor, wrapped in blankets distributed by volunteers, while being surrounded by trash and other debris. The sound of a cough echoes across the room.
They do not have access to showers, toilets or other facilities. They wash and bathe with water that has been warmed up in old barrels that were placed outside by fire pits.
A group of volunteers work every day to provide a hot meal for those stranded here.
The refugees say they don’t want to stay in Serbia, they want to reach Germany, France, Italy or the UK, but they stay in the warehouse because they fear they will be deported if they go to the official government camps.
But they can’t go on. Serbia’s borders with Croatia and Hungary remain closed.