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Stuck in Bosnia

From January to August 2019, more than 16,700 migrants were registered in Bosnia. This figure is more than 15 times the total number registered in Bosnia throughout 2017.
The camps managed by the IOM (International Organization for Migration) host only a part of these people. A high number of migrants is not registered and has no papers.
Thousands migrants live in difficult conditions in the north of the country, near the Croatian border, in the city of Bihać and its surroundings.
From mid-June 2019, the Bihać police created a temporary host 8 km from the city, in the town of Vucjak.
The land of Vucjak for decades has been a landfill, now covered with soil.
Since the beginning, conditions in the field have been difficult and since June 2019 the number of people in Vucjak has grown from a few hundred to about eight hundred in August and September.
The camp is managed only by the Red Cross, which struggles to keep up with the difficulties and to guarantee conditions that are humanly acceptable.
The food provided is not enough for all the people in the camp and also the water supply is scarce.
For all migrants, Vucjak seems to be the base camp for departure to Europe.
From here, small groups of migrants head for the mountains and the Croatian border every day.
Smugglers ask for up to two thousand euros to transport them and those who cannot pay continue the journey on their own.
Among migrants, the journey on foot to Europe is called "the game". A game that increasingly often ends badly at the Bosnian/Croatian border.
In fact, migrants and various NGOs report violence on the border by the Croatian police.
In addition to the use of physical violence, migrants denounce the seizure and destruction of cell phones, backpacks and shoes.
The Croatian police denied all the facts, although several activist videos show the illegal return of migrants and the use of violence by the police.
The camp of Vucjac seen from above. A man smokes a cigarette on the roof of an abandoned building located in the center of the camp. The camp is run by the Red Cross and hosts about 700 people. The flow of migrants is constantly evolving and the numbers are variable. Every day the Bosnian police take dozens of migrants from the city of BihaÄ, located 30 minutes away by car. The Vucjac camp, near the mountains that mark the Bosnian / Croatian border, is the last stop for many migrants who try to cross the border between Bosnia and Croatia. The camp is located on an old landfill.
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The camp of Vucjac seen from above. A man smokes a cigarette on the roof of an abandoned building located in the center of the camp. The camp is run by the Red Cross and hosts about 700 people. The flow of migrants is constantly evolving and the numbers are variable. Every day the Bosnian police take dozens of migrants from the city of BihaÄ, located 30 minutes away by car. The Vucjac camp, near the mountains that mark the Bosnian / Croatian border, is the last stop for many migrants who try to cross the border between Bosnia and Croatia. The camp is located on an old landfill.
The area outside the group of tents of the Vucjak camp is where many migrants gather to go to the city of BihaÄ, to exchange information on the paths to follow and the situation off the camp. Given the high temperatures, staying in tents during the August afternoons is almost impossible.
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The area outside the group of tents of the Vucjak camp is where many migrants gather to go to the city of BihaÄ, to exchange information on the paths to follow and the situation off the camp. Given the high temperatures, staying in tents during the August afternoons is almost impossible.
A man arranges his objects outside a tent before facing the night in Vucjak camp.
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A man arranges his objects outside a tent before facing the night in Vucjak camp.
The interior of a tent in the Vucjak camp. The tents are overcrowded and the hygienic conditions are scarce. At the end of August, night-time temperatures in the camp become cold and blankets are used to cover up. Because of this, many people are forced to sleep on the ground with nothing to lean on.
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The interior of a tent in the Vucjak camp. The tents are overcrowded and the hygienic conditions are scarce. At the end of August, night-time temperatures in the camp become cold and blankets are used to cover up. Because of this, many people are forced to sleep on the ground with nothing to lean on.
The meal distribution line. The Red Cross provides one meal per day for about 200/250 migrants. Despite the efforts made, the resources of the Red Cross are not sufficient to contribute to the needs of the camp. The basic necessities are scarce and the hygienic conditions remain precarious due to overcrowding.
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The meal distribution line. The Red Cross provides one meal per day for about 200/250 migrants. Despite the efforts made, the resources of the Red Cross are not sufficient to contribute to the needs of the camp. The basic necessities are scarce and the hygienic conditions remain precarious due to overcrowding.
nside a tent some people consume the meal provided by the Red Cross, while outside the line under the beating sun continues. Unfortunately, Red Cross food supplies are limited to 30% of the people living in the Vucjak camp.
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nside a tent some people consume the meal provided by the Red Cross, while outside the line under the beating sun continues. Unfortunately, Red Cross food supplies are limited to 30% of the people living in the Vucjak camp.
People lined up under the sun waiting for the meal provided by the Red Cross. Many migrants have shoes recovered from garbage or around the camp, after losing them in an attempt to cross the Bosnian / Croatian border. According to many of them, the shoes were seized by the Croatian police in an attempt to dissuade migrants from trying to cross the border again.
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People lined up under the sun waiting for the meal provided by the Red Cross. Many migrants have shoes recovered from garbage or around the camp, after losing them in an attempt to cross the Bosnian / Croatian border. According to many of them, the shoes were seized by the Croatian police in an attempt to dissuade migrants from trying to cross the border again.
A group of men outside their tent have opened a sort of restaurant where other people can eat for a few marks. Many migrants have been in the camp for several months and, after several attempts to cross the border, they have lost their money and their possessions and are forced to stay. Many are waiting for weeks or months for families to send them money to continue their journey to Europe.
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A group of men outside their tent have opened a sort of restaurant where other people can eat for a few marks. Many migrants have been in the camp for several months and, after several attempts to cross the border, they have lost their money and their possessions and are forced to stay. Many are waiting for weeks or months for families to send them money to continue their journey to Europe.
A group of men eat inside a Red Cross tent. During the afternoon, the tent is used for the distribution of food and for the management of the camp by the Red Cross. At night many people without a place to sleep come to sleep to the camp.
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A group of men eat inside a Red Cross tent. During the afternoon, the tent is used for the distribution of food and for the management of the camp by the Red Cross. At night many people without a place to sleep come to sleep to the camp.
A group of Afghan migrants, after buying an electric generator, runs the only point where there is electricity in the camp. There is no electric light or running water in the camp.
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A group of Afghan migrants, after buying an electric generator, runs the only point where there is electricity in the camp. There is no electric light or running water in the camp.
Outside the group of tents of the Vucjak camp, most migrants search the mobile network, the only way to communicate with the outside world and with their families. In the center of the camp the coverage is almost absent because the camp is isolated among the mountains.
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Outside the group of tents of the Vucjak camp, most migrants search the mobile network, the only way to communicate with the outside world and with their families. In the center of the camp the coverage is almost absent because the camp is isolated among the mountains.
Some men talk at the entrance to the Vucjak camp. For many of them, in addition to the harsh living conditions, the problem of being in the camp is the lack of activity and the impossibility of going out. The city of BihaÄ is a three-hour walk and migrants are forbidden to stay in the city. The Bosnian police is required to bring people back to the camp.
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Some men talk at the entrance to the Vucjak camp. For many of them, in addition to the harsh living conditions, the problem of being in the camp is the lack of activity and the impossibility of going out. The city of BihaÄ is a three-hour walk and migrants are forbidden to stay in the city. The Bosnian police is required to bring people back to the camp.
A man calls people for the afternoon prayer from the roof of an abandoned building in the center of the Vucjak camp. Migrants are totally self-organized, creating a mosque inside a tent and taking turns for calling the daily prayer.
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A man calls people for the afternoon prayer from the roof of an abandoned building in the center of the Vucjak camp. Migrants are totally self-organized, creating a mosque inside a tent and taking turns for calling the daily prayer.
Afternoon prayer inside the tent turned into a mosque. Migrants are totally self-organized, creating a mosque inside a tent and taking turns for calling the daily prayer.
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Afternoon prayer inside the tent turned into a mosque. Migrants are totally self-organized, creating a mosque inside a tent and taking turns for calling the daily prayer.
Pakistani men read the messages they received from their families in a tent in Vucjak camp. With the rains and the heat, the tents begin to deteriorate, the rain water has begun to infiltrate worsening the condition of the tents. At night the temperatures drop considerably and the tents, very hot in the afternoon, at night do not keep the temperature, forcing many people to cover themselves even with plastic bags.
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Pakistani men read the messages they received from their families in a tent in Vucjak camp. With the rains and the heat, the tents begin to deteriorate, the rain water has begun to infiltrate worsening the condition of the tents. At night the temperatures drop considerably and the tents, very hot in the afternoon, at night do not keep the temperature, forcing many people to cover themselves even with plastic bags.
A group of Kashmiri men inside a tent in the Vucjak camp. The tents host seven to ten people.
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A group of Kashmiri men inside a tent in the Vucjak camp. The tents host seven to ten people.
A shop-restaurant run by Afghan migrants, where migrants can buy food for a few marks. With the money sent by the families, they bought kitchen supplies and were able to stock up on drinks to sell. The rest of the material was recovered around the camp, Vucjak being a former dump. The group also bought a generator to sell electricity within the camp.
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A shop-restaurant run by Afghan migrants, where migrants can buy food for a few marks. With the money sent by the families, they bought kitchen supplies and were able to stock up on drinks to sell. The rest of the material was recovered around the camp, Vucjak being a former dump. The group also bought a generator to sell electricity within the camp.
An Afghan hairdresser cuts hair for a few marks in the Vucjak camp. Many people, based on their abilities, try to do something in the camp, both to earn some money to cross the border, and to keep themselves busy during the day.
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An Afghan hairdresser cuts hair for a few marks in the Vucjak camp. Many people, based on their abilities, try to do something in the camp, both to earn some money to cross the border, and to keep themselves busy during the day.
One of the owners of the Vucjak camp shop prepares cigarettes for sale in the camp.
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One of the owners of the Vucjak camp shop prepares cigarettes for sale in the camp.
The center of the Vucjak camp in the evening becomes very animated, being the only point with electrical supply. There are several shops where those who can sell all sorts of things. People gather to talk and exchange information. From here, every evening, groups of migrants leave to attempt the crossing of the Bosnian / Croatian border.
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The center of the Vucjak camp in the evening becomes very animated, being the only point with electrical supply. There are several shops where those who can sell all sorts of things. People gather to talk and exchange information. From here, every evening, groups of migrants leave to attempt the crossing of the Bosnian / Croatian border.
A man who can not afford to buy a meal waits in the hope of having some leftovers at the end of the evening. Many collect money to buy a meal cooked inside the camp. The Red Cross does not have sufficient funds to meet the needs of the entire camp, with the provision of a daily meal for only about 250 people.
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A man who can not afford to buy a meal waits in the hope of having some leftovers at the end of the evening. Many collect money to buy a meal cooked inside the camp. The Red Cross does not have sufficient funds to meet the needs of the entire camp, with the provision of a daily meal for only about 250 people.
A man wrapped in a blanket walks in the only area in the evening with a sort of illumination inside the Vucjak camp. Temperatures in August at night are cold, as the camp is located among the mountains. Many migrants are worried about the arrival of winter and the conditions that could get worse.
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A man wrapped in a blanket walks in the only area in the evening with a sort of illumination inside the Vucjak camp. Temperatures in August at night are cold, as the camp is located among the mountains. Many migrants are worried about the arrival of winter and the conditions that could get worse.
A group of men greet each other in the center of the Vucjak camp before leaving in an attempt to reach Europe. Many people have lost all their possessions during the various attempts to cross the Bosnian / Croatian border. The journey through the mountains is very dangerous and lasts many days.
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A group of men greet each other in the center of the Vucjak camp before leaving in an attempt to reach Europe. Many people have lost all their possessions during the various attempts to cross the Bosnian / Croatian border. The journey through the mountains is very dangerous and lasts many days.
A group of migrants on the road that leads from the city of BihaÄ to the camp of Vucjak, a three-hour walk uphill. For many, the Vucjak camp is the last stop before trying to head to Europe.
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A group of migrants on the road that leads from the city of BihaÄ to the camp of Vucjak, a three-hour walk uphill. For many, the Vucjak camp is the last stop before trying to head to Europe.
Two migrants play badminton in Vucjak camp. In the camp there are few things to do and many people would like to go out, but the nearest town is a three-hour walk and the Bosnian police is obliged to take the migrants back from the city of BihaÄ to the Vucjak camp.
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Two migrants play badminton in Vucjak camp. In the camp there are few things to do and many people would like to go out, but the nearest town is a three-hour walk and the Bosnian police is obliged to take the migrants back from the city of BihaÄ to the Vucjak camp.
A man cooks for the group of migrants he lives with. Those who manage to buy food in the city cook it before the evening.
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A man cooks for the group of migrants he lives with. Those who manage to buy food in the city cook it before the evening.
Hygienic-sanitary conditions in the camp are very bad. The management of the camp is out of control and the high number of people even just passing through makes it impossible to organize waste management, as well as basic health standards. Many areas around the camp are now public latrines and the amount of waste is constantly increasing.
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Hygienic-sanitary conditions in the camp are very bad. The management of the camp is out of control and the high number of people even just passing through makes it impossible to organize waste management, as well as basic health standards. Many areas around the camp are now public latrines and the amount of waste is constantly increasing.
Hygienic-sanitary conditions in the camp are very difficult. The management of the camp is out of control and the high number of people even just passing through makes it impossible to organize waste management, as well as basic health standards. Many areas around the camp are now public latrines and the amount of waste is constantly increasing.
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Hygienic-sanitary conditions in the camp are very difficult. The management of the camp is out of control and the high number of people even just passing through makes it impossible to organize waste management, as well as basic health standards. Many areas around the camp are now public latrines and the amount of waste is constantly increasing.
Some men wash themselves outside the shower spaces, which are unusable. They have long been out of use as they are clogged and full of waste. Hygienic-sanitary conditions in the camp are very bad. The management of the camp is out of control and the high number of people even just passing through makes it impossible to organize waste management, as well as maintaining basic health standards. Many areas around the camp are now public latrines and the amount of waste is constantly increasing.
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Some men wash themselves outside the shower spaces, which are unusable. They have long been out of use as they are clogged and full of waste. Hygienic-sanitary conditions in the camp are very bad. The management of the camp is out of control and the high number of people even just passing through makes it impossible to organize waste management, as well as maintaining basic health standards. Many areas around the camp are now public latrines and the amount of waste is constantly increasing.
A man collects water in cans to distribute in some tents. The lack of water is a constant in the Vucjak camp and also for this reason the hygienic-sanitary conditions are bad.
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A man collects water in cans to distribute in some tents. The lack of water is a constant in the Vucjak camp and also for this reason the hygienic-sanitary conditions are bad.
After an afternoon without water supply, a group of migrants washes themselves directly with the taps of the tank truck that supplies water to the whole camp once a day. Water is not drinkable but the difficult conditions cause many people to drink from the tanks.
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After an afternoon without water supply, a group of migrants washes themselves directly with the taps of the tank truck that supplies water to the whole camp once a day. Water is not drinkable but the difficult conditions cause many people to drink from the tanks.
A man prepares bread outside the tent which, during the night, houses about eighty people.
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A man prepares bread outside the tent which, during the night, houses about eighty people.
A man returns to Vucjak's camp after collecting firewood from the surrounding woods.
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A man returns to Vucjak's camp after collecting firewood from the surrounding woods.
Above the roof of an abandoned building in the center of the Vucjak camp, people find cellular networks, the only way to communicate with their families and the rest of the world. Finding the line is always very difficult and can take several hours.
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Above the roof of an abandoned building in the center of the Vucjak camp, people find cellular networks, the only way to communicate with their families and the rest of the world. Finding the line is always very difficult and can take several hours.
The Vucjak camp in the late afternoon: migrants light fires for cooking or to prepare for the night, when temperatures drop.
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The Vucjak camp in the late afternoon: migrants light fires for cooking or to prepare for the night, when temperatures drop.
A group of Kashmiri men in a tent in the Vucjak camp.
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A group of Kashmiri men in a tent in the Vucjak camp.
A man walks along a path around Vucjak's camp. There are many paths that migrants use to go down to the city or to go to the Bosnian / Croatian border. The routes are often very dangerous, as they are in the mountains and in very inaccessible areas.
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A man walks along a path around Vucjak's camp. There are many paths that migrants use to go down to the city or to go to the Bosnian / Croatian border. The routes are often very dangerous, as they are in the mountains and in very inaccessible areas.
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