Up-date on migrant situation at Slovenian border

Up-date on migrant situation at Slovenian border

3600 people crossed Slovenia since Thursday. The last two days were a bit more quiet and provided for an opportunity to evaluate how things were handled. There were a lot of gaps, definitely lack of coordination, especially at the border crossings. Once the people were let in the country and taken to registration and accommodation centres, things went more smoothly though.

Almost all refugees left towards Austria. Only 23 applied for asylum.

– Media reporting: media love to show how refugees left piles of garbage behind (are they supposed to take the garbage with them?) and die to interview humanitarian workers who can’t resist complaining that refugees were throwing away food (wait, don’t we do the same?).

– Humanitarianism as a new sport: it’s absolutely great that people responded so massively, but at some point this caused a huge chaos. On Sunday, there were more volunteers at the site than refugees. No one was responsible for coordination so if you came to the site you could do whatever you wanted to.

– Lack of prediction: everyone was constantly surprised. In spite of the fact that NGOs told the authorities that thousands of people will come. -Oh, they are so many! Oh, we need water (one truck arrives). Five hours later: -Oh, we need more water! One day later: -Oh, what do you mean one toilet is not enough for 300 people? Two days later: -Oh, it’s gonna rain! Everyone starts collecting tents. -Oh, there’s not enough tents! Some of the tents are brought and set up for the police. -Oh, the police does not need three tents, only one. But the other two can only be moved tommorow… And so on and on.

– Families separated: when the authorities were giving priority to women and children, the fathers stayed behind. Not OK. Separation of families causes a huge stress.

– Fines for activists: some activists stubbornly wanted to stay in the no-mans land even after the refugees left, and keep their kitchen and theire tents there. The police (that needed to empty the area to have it cleaned and re-organized for possible newcomers) decided to fine them for unlawful movement at the state border. Unnecessary. Wasn’t there a milder, more proportionate way to handle this?

All in all, we could say that this was an opportunity for rehersal. Now it’s quiet. The experience gained in these four days should help to ensure that future situations will be handled better.