Pressure is building in Serbia and Hungary as officials brace for a new influx of refugees this week.
U.N. officials in Serbia said they expect 7,000 refugees to cross from FYROM into southern Serbia in a 24-hour period between Tuesday and Wednesday.
To the north, near a gap in the fence on the Hungarian border where thousands have been crossing, tensions broke out late Tuesday as refugees, frustrated with having to wait for transportation, threw bottles at Hungarian police. Police responded by firing tear gas at the refugees.
Earlier in the day, refugees had broken past police lines at a holding center near the border fence.
Relief workers are struggling to keep up with the flow of refugees into northern Serbia, where refugees are arriving and waiting at makeshift camps while they decide how to cross the border into Hungary and travel on to the Austrian border.
Most said they ultimately want to go Germany, whose vice chancellor Tuesday said the country could take as many as 500,000 asylum seekers a year.
UNHCR team visits Serbian camp
One of the camps is at an abandoned brick factory on the outskirts of this town in Serbia’s north. A team from the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees visited Tuesday and found migrants sleeping amid garbage without enough drinking water, food or sanitary facilities.
“When the refugees and asylum seekers come to the north of Serbia, they already have had a long journey. They are tired and desperate to get to Hungary to continue their journey to the place where they want to go,” said Niklas Stoerup Agerup, a UNHCR field officer visiting the camp for the first time Tuesday.
He said efforts are under way to boost the distribution of humanitarian supplies to the camp.
Until now, officials said they have focused relief efforts on southern Serbia, where private citizens have been delivering food to refugees camping in the capital, Belgrade, and other points south.