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Migrants and residents jointly plant seedlings in Kikinda, April 2018
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Children from the host and the migrant communities play football together, Kikinda, April 2018
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Women from migrant and host communities share meal after the joint volunteering activity, Kikinda, April 2018

Kikinda, April 12th, 2018 – Representatives of the EU, UN agencies and Serbian state institutions, accompanied by the Mayor of the City of Kikinda, visited today the Reception Centre for Migrants and Health Centre in Kikinda. The delegation also participated in a volunteer action in Banatska Topola village. The visit has been organized within the EU-funded “Open Communities-Successful Communities” project implemented by a consortium of UN agencies, led by the UNDP in association with WHO, IOM and UNOPS.

The Reception Centre in Kikinda was opened in April 2017 and currently accommodates 130 migrants and refugees. The living conditions were recently improved to a large extent thanks to international donations. 

A specialized medical vehicle in the value of 21.000 Euros, was donated to the Health Centre Kikinda, to facilitate the transport of patients from the Health Centre to the higher-level institutions for health protection. The analyser worth 20.000 Euros, donated to the Institute of Public Health, will contribute significantly to the efficiency of the Health Center’s laboratory. The Project provided additional support through the engagement of one medical team to decrease the PHC workload and to assure provision of quality emergency health assistance to migrants and local population.

Head of Operations in the Delegation of the European Union to the Republic of Serbia, Nicolas Bizel and the Mayor of the City of Kikinda, Pavle Markov both stressed the importance of the assistance and joint actions taken to reach those in need and improve the quality of life of Kikinda citizens as well as refugees and migrants who live on its territory.

The visit to Kikinda ended in Banatska Topola village where volunteer action of afforestation took place. In joint action, the local volunteers and migrants from the Reception Centre planted 400 seedlings that will serve as protection from soil erosion by ground water. Representatives of Secretariat for Environmental Protection of the City of Kikinda organized for both local and migrant women and children - an educative presentation on soil protection and the importance of greenery.

Zarko Petrovic, UNDP Program Analyst, pointed out that the UN agencies help the EU to provide support to central government institutions in Serbia, as well as to 18 local communities that host migrants. In Kikinda, the EU has provided various assistance: an ambulance, expert assistance through the UN agencies, a communal vehicle being delivered in the next week, and today, in Banatska Topola, we are organizing a joint afforestation action. We want to send a message of unity and emphasize that environment is something we share and we will all breathe the air given by these trees, concluded Petrovic.

A joint meal was organized in Firefighting Society premises. The traditional food, prepared by local Women association, and gathering of participants helped already good relationships between host community and migrants/refugees to grow even stronger.

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