Asylum-seekers are slogging through rain and mud-caked roads in Croatia, as worsening fall weather plagues their journeys to seek sanctuary in richer European countries.
Vladimir Bozic, a physician from Doctors without Borders, says he treats many very young children.
“I design even more, with a worsening of these cold conditions”, Bozic said.
Croatia’s Zoran Milanovic did not hold back in his criticism of Hungary’s Viktor Orban as he visited a transit camp in the eastern village of Opatovac, suggesting the leaders of the two neighboring countries were barely speaking.
“Nothing will change. Winter will come and this [refugee and migrant flow] will ease off”, he added, at a facility through which more than 80,000 people have passed in the fortnight since Hungary completed a fence along the Serbian border, diverting them westward.
Saed Al Mousawi, who fled from Afghanistan, said that the drop in temperatures had made many feel unwell, especially the children. “But not just like this, trying to make the best of the systems we have now and keep them going”, she said.
Migrants walk to the Austrian – Hungarian border near Hegyeshalom, Hungary, on Monday September 28, 2015.
“This is a threat”, said Mr Milanovic of Mr Orban’s “unacceptable” attempt to extend the fence along Hungary’s border with Croatia.
Farther south on the Balkan route, Nenad Popovic of Refugee Aid Serbia has met volunteers from dozens of countries this summer – a few foreign residents of Belgrade, where he lives, and many others who have arrived to help out. The Associated Press has protested the brief detention of one of its journalists by police as he covered migrants crossing the border, saying he was forced to delete footage that included images of a police dog knocking down a refugee.
Croatia has been accusing Serbia of sending thousands of migrants to its border instead of channeling them north to Hungary.
“We saw how it was a disaster at Roszke … how groups like the Red Cross and UNHCR had too much work to do and too little organization, so we chose to get involved”, said Basti, from Regensburg, Germany, as he handed out bottles of water and his friends cooked food for refugees in two mobile kitchens.
Szijjarto said that other countries including the United States – the world’s top overall host nation of immigrants – has also constructed barriers on borders.