Croatian Red Cross spokeswoman Katarina Zoric said on Tuesday that there had been no changes in the functioning of the refugee transit centre in Slavonski Brod and that migrants were receiving the same assistance, however, hot meals for volunteers at the centre would no longer be available but steps were being taken to resolve that problem too.
After the announcement of significant cuts in budget funds for the transit centre, volunteers were the first to feel the pinch of the new measures.
"We are aware of the need to cut costs. I would like those to be made in such a way to avoid affecting the basic needs of migrants and people engaged in the camp, and food is a basic human need," Zoric told Hina.
She underscored that there had been no changes to the assistance offered to refugees at the centre. She added that the Red Cross had not received any official notice regarding the reduction of costs at the centre except that hot meals would no longer be available for volunteers.
Zoric underscored that according to information in the field, organisations that are active in the centre have already taken steps to resolve that problem.
Based on its experience to date, the Red Cross believes that costs could be cut if timetables of arrivals and departures of refugees were specified. "It is necessary to define schedules of arrivals and departures of trains and then determine the need for volunteers accordingly," she said.
At a government meeting last week Interior Minister Vlaho Orepic said that to date more than 600,000 people had passed through Croatia and that a total of HRK 145 million (approx. 19 mln euro) had been spent on care for migrants.
The EU has approved 12.4 million euro for this purpose, 9.9 million euro of which Croatia has absorbed so far. Orepic underscored that efforts were being made so that soon migrants would just transit through Croatia without stopping.