. Earth Science News .

Serbian freeze stalls would-be immigrants' European dream
by Staff Writers
Palic, Serbia (AFP) Feb 13, 2012

Hiding in the Serbian woods, a group of Asian illegal immigrants tried for weeks to pass the border with Hungary, until the current freezing weather forced them to break cover and accept help.

Now they risk being deported.

Just kilometres (miles) away from European Union soil in Hungary, Afghan Shahid and his fellow illegal immigrants abandoned their camp in the woods, giving up for the moment their dreams of a better life in Europe.

Now, the rag-tag group of some 40 immigrants was huddled together in an abandoned restaurant, a refuge organised by the Serbian Red Cross.

Inside, the temperature hovered around the freezing point -- but that was still better than outside, at minus 20 degrees Celsius (minus 4 Fahrenheit).

Skinny, with wild unkempt hair but clear eyes, 17-year-old Shahid from Afghanistan said he had already tried once to cross to Hungary.

"The Hungarian police have already caught me once and I returned to Serbia. It is very cold, but as soon as the weather improves I will try again," Shahid, from Jalalabad, told AFP.

Like his companions, he did not want to elaborate on his past or how he ended up in the Serbian woods. With others -- Pakistanis, Indians and other Afghans -- he was biding his time in the improvised camp in the woods, which they nicknamed the "jungle".

But as temperatures last week dropped to a murderous minus 25 degrees Celsius (minus 13 degrees Fahrenheit), the immigrants eventually decided to accept help from the local Red Cross.

The move could see them eventually deported to their countries of origin by the Serbian authorities.

On Lake Palic, popular with summer visitors, the Fontana restaurant has stood abandoned for years. Inside, the paint is peeling off the walls and the only furniture consists of two improvised tables with mattresses and blankets on the floor.

"The authorities decided on Wednesday to task the Red Cross with helping those people in order to avoid tragic consequences," local Red Cross official Pecze Mihaly told AFP.

The number of illegal immigrants trying to reach the European Union from the woods in Serbia had been on the rise in the last few months, he said.

"Their number varies between several dozens and several hundreds depending on weather conditions."

"We provide ... three meals a day, we also give them tea and they will undergo a preventive medical check-up," Mihaly said. The Red Cross would help them until the authorities here decide otherwise, he added.

The immigrants themselves had nothing apart from the clothes on their back -- and some of those had been been donated by the Red Cross. They were clearly not adequately dressed for the freezing temperatures registered in the region for the past ten days.

On site, local workers were tring to get the electricity, water and heating working to make conditions a bit more livable for the immigrants.

"It's better here than in the woods, they give us food, and now there is electricity," said Honey Singh, an 18-year-old Sikh from India's Punjab state.

"When the weather gets better I will try to continue my journey to Germany, where there are chances to start a new life," Singh added.

Others, like Pakistani Omer Amaqbool, were thinking about giving up on their European dream.

"I left Pakistan two years ago and my goal was Austria where I have a cousin," the 19-year-old said.

"But I have no more money and I don't know if I should continue my travel or return home.

"Thank God and those people here who help us," he muttered, as he tucked into the warm meal and bread served by the Red Cross.

Related Links
It's A White Out at TerraDaily.com

Get Our Free Newsletters Via Email
Buy Advertising Editorial Enquiries

Georgia sets up shelters after homeless freeze to death
Tbilisi (AFP) Feb 13, 2012 - Georgia set up shelters for homeless people in the capital Tbilisi on Monday after two homeless people died during the coldest weather for decades.

"The situation is very serious as far as homeless people are concerned," Tbilisi Mayor Gigi Ugulava said in a statement after visiting a hospital where a further three homeless men were reported to be in intensive care.

Ugulava said that municipally-funded canteens which provide free food to the poor would be turned into temporary shelters.

"In every district of Tbilisi, one free canteen will be transformed into a shelter so that no one remains without shelter and a basic hot dinner during the cold weather," he said.

Two homeless men died on Friday after being admitted to hospital with hypothermia, one in the capital and the other in the western town of Ozurgeti, local media reported.

Temperatures fell to minus 10 degrees Celsius (14 degrees Fahrenheit) in Tbilisi on Sunday -- the lowest recorded in the capital for 40 years, according to local media.


. Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Snow blocks in tens of thousands as cold death toll rises
Belgrade (AFP) Feb 11, 2012
Snow drifts reaching up to rooftops kept tens of thousands of villagers prisoners in their own homes Saturday as the death toll from Europe's big freeze rose past 550. More heavy snow fell on the Balkans and in Italy, while the Danube river, already closed to shipping for hundreds of kilometres (miles) because of thick ice, froze over in Bulgaria for the first time in 27 years. Montenegr ... read more

Japan's Fukushima reactor may be reheating: operator

Top US general meets Egypt's Tantawi amid NGOs row

Bird numbers drop around Fukushima

Japan passes $33 bln fourth extra budget

Watchdog group begins China Apple inspections

Russia to build powerful laser facility

Northrop Grumman Delivers 25,000th Electro-Optic Laser System to U.S. Army

Iran Launches New Home-Made Satellite into Orbit

Reform of EU fishing quotas urged

Engage China in water dialogue: Experts

Ocean microbe communities changing, but long-term environmental impact is unclear

Ocean warming causes elephant seals to dive deeper

NASA Mission Takes Stock of Earth's Melting Land Ice

CU-Boulder study shows global glaciers, ice caps, shedding billions of tons of mass annually

Putin receives 'prehistoric' water from Antarctic lake

Himalayan meltdown not so fast after all: study

5-10 percent corn yield jump using erosion-slowing cover crops

Shedding light on genetics of rice metabolism

Fresh city tomatoes, any time

Valentine's flowers inspected for pests

3D laser map shows earthquake before and after

Tree rings may underestimate climate response to volcanic eruptions

Chile to prosecute workers over lack of tsunami warning

Death toll in Philippine quake rises to 39

Nigeria army kills 12 suspected Islamists in flashpoint city

Inter-ethnic fighting displaces 40,000 in Kenya

Mali army tries to fend off Tuareg rebels as crisis grows

Chinese, Russian arms fuel Darfur abuse: Amnesty

Neanderthal demise due to many influences, including cultural changes

Why the brain is more reluctant to function as we age

Cutting-edge MRI techniques for studying communication within the brain

Entire genome of extinct human decoded from fossil

Memory Foam Mattress Review

Newsletters :: SpaceDaily Express :: SpaceWar Express :: TerraDaily Express :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2012 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement