The European Commission’s Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection department (ECHO) is providing €150 000 in humanitarian funding to help cope with migratory pressures in Serbia. The support will be channelled through the Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) to help the Serbian Red Cross deliver much needed assistance over the next three months to migrants and asylum seekers, including children.
Assistance will go to migrant reception centres across Serbia, including the Presevo centre in the South of the country, and help highly vulnerable refugees, including families with children. The support will also target migrants and asylum seekers temporarily in public parks and abandoned buildings. The aid will go to food and hygiene needs, and will support people in restoring contact with family members. The needs of women and children will get particular attention.
Serbia has seen a considerable increase in the number of people fleeing conflict in countries such as Syria and Afghanistan passing through the country since September 2014. The majority of migrants and asylum seekers are crossing the country in an irregular manner, with some having been subject to extreme hardships as well as abuse by criminal groups and traffickers.
The Disaster Relief Emergency Fund (DREF) is supported by contributions from donors. Each time a National Red Cross or Red Crescent Society needs immediate financial support to respond to a disaster, it can request funds from the DREF. For small-scale disasters, the IFRC allocates grants from the Fund, which can then be replenished by the donors. The contribution agreement between the IFRC and ECHO enables the Commission to replenish the DREF for agreed humanitarian operations up to a total of €3 million.