The refugees' passage to Europe

With temperatures dropping, the journey for those caught between borders is becoming even more difficult.

Ioana Moldovan | | Humanitarian crises, Europe, Refugees, Croatia, Syria

"We want [to] go!" the voices of refugees sound behind the gates of the camp in Opatovac, Croatia, 10km away from the Serbian border.

More than 50,000 people entered the country in little more than a week.

For nights, they had been sleeping in the open - in and around the train station in Tovarnik, waiting for the train to take them to the border of either Hungary or Slovenia.

Temperatures are dropping, making the refugees' journeys even more difficult, especially for those travelling with children.

The camp in Opatovac, established in one day and with a capacity to hold 4,000 people, is meant as a welcoming step, but refugees see it more like a prison - an obstacle on their way to the desired destinations, with Germany ranking highest as the refugees’ preference.

Croatia is already overwhelmed with the high influx of refugees crossing the border from Serbia.

Over 2,000 refugees are believed to cross every day into the country that has now become the main point of entry into the European Union for refugees.

There is a lot of concern regarding how the country will cope with the increasing number of refugees in the long run, as well as the possibility of a blockage from this point onwards, to Slovenia and Hungary.

The dirt road cutting through the cornfields between the Serbian town of Sid and Tovarnik in Croatia bears evidence of the refugees' passage.

Old clothes and shoes, food and diapers are scattered on the sides of the path.


 Related: Refugees at Croatia - Serbia border


They arrived in large numbers and now squeeze onto some 800m of roadway, the "no man's land" between the two checkpoints at the border.

They wait to be put on the buses and taken to the camp in Opatovac.

Fatigue and frustration grow among the refugees.

So much so, that there were cases where some people decided to end their journeys and request asylum in Croatia.

"We are too tired", said a group of Syrians justifying their decision.

But the vast majority wants to move on to the countries in which they believe they have a chance to rebuild their life. "We want [to] go!", they are chanting at the gates of the camp.

Follow Ioana Moldovan on Twitter: @icmoldovan

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