Sunday, February 25

Berlin asks for help before the arrival of 160,000 refugees

The inner streets of Reinickendorf reception centera low-rise residential neighborhood north of berlinThey are full of newcomers. They fled Ukraine after the invasion ordered by Vladimir Putin. This is the first station for those who have not yet found accommodation in the German capital. Here they help them find a roof, they can rest, take covid tests and start their registration process.

In this center the capacity of just over 1,000 beds I know sold out days ago. Some of the Afghan civilians evacuated in 2021 still remain here. Now the victims of a new crisis. The Government of the capital is setting up at full speed a new center on the premises of the old Tegel airport, which will be able to accommodate 7,500 people. In addition, entities and private citizens can also publish their place availability on a special portal. without that ability In addition, the situation would be collapse. berlin is he main point of arrival of those who enter Germany from Ukraine and who on Tuesday already added 160,000 people. That figure, moreover, corresponds only to those who have registered.

In the central station of Berlin the movement is intense. The rhythm is set by the arrival of the packed trains. Predominate the women with childrensome groups of youthsMany bring their pets. Volunteers in fluorescent vests are everywhere. They help with luggage, guide newcomers, act as translators. Those who already have a destination in Germany receive the free ticket “Help Ukraine” and continue the journey. They are the luckiest in a tragic situation.

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Alex, 16 years old, is sitting on a bench with his little sister and their dog. His mother went to buy hamburgers. He says that he is exhausted but happy for having arrived. Soon they will take another train to Pforzheim, in Baden-Württemberg, where a friendly family is waiting for them. Security personnel and some volunteers interrupt the conversation with El Periódico several times. They distrust those who approach to travelers. “It is possible that criminals want to take advantage of the situation”, the authorities insistently warn in all the official communication and recommend not accept offers of accommodation and other services in exchange for money.

memories of 2015

The 2015 refugee crisis It was a traumatic episode for Germany. A part of society reacted severally, went to train stations to greet asylum seekers with applause and gifts. But there were also acts of xenophobic violence against migrants and strong opposition to the decision to Angela Merkel not having closed the borders. Comings and goings in the management of the problem and a completely overwhelmed bureaucracy contributed to discontent, aggravating a political crisis that shook the then chancellor.

Did Germany learn from that experience? Again the authorities they look like go behind the scenes. “The volunteers are better organized and so is the public administration,” he tells El Periódico Holger Michelfounder of the organization “Freiwillige Helfen” (Volunteers Help).

“But in 2015, at most 1,000 people arrived in Berlin per day. are now 10,000 per daysometimes more, in a moment we will be overcome”, he continues and calls for government support federal and the federated states.

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capabilities to the limit

With the incessant flow of people, the pressure on the capacities of the German capital is increasing. The city depends too much on the volunteer work and of the accommodation offer by private entities. A unsustainable situation over time if the relocation of displaced Ukrainians to other cities and regions of the country is not accelerated.

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According to the applicable formula for that distribution, berlin it would correspond accommodate 5% of registered migrants. But in recent days the city “has made as much effort as all the federal states together,” he claimed. Katia Kippingthe Berlin Minister for Social Rights. According to Kipping “every night and every day is a race for the volunteers and for the city officials. The problem is that we are at the beginning and we will have to prepare for a marathon”.

Outside the central station, Go to (Irina) holds her 4-year-old son’s hand tightly so he doesn’t run away while she finishes typing a message on her phone. She also fights hold back tears in each sentence of the brief conversation, in English, with El Periódico. He comes from Lutzk, the city near the Polish border, whose military airport was bombed last Friday. Ira and her son will go to Aachen, to relatives’ house. To the question of how she feels and what her plans are, she only manages to answer: “home, home”. (House House)

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