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DRK to run arrival centre in Tegel: Bundeswehr helps

Flüchtlinge in Berlin

Refugees from Ukraine arrive at the main station.

The German Red Cross (DRK) Berlin is to take over the operation of the planned arrival and distribution centre for Ukrainian war refugees on the site of the former Tegel airport.

"We want this to be built up gradually, that it is both a place where initial accommodation can be provided with 2,500 to 3,000 planned places and a core team of full-time staff who do this work there professionally," said the Governing Mayor Franziska Giffey (SPD) on Wednesday evening (09 March 2022) after a special session of the Senate. "I am very grateful that we were able to win over the DRK to take over the management here accordingly."

Start date not yet known

Giffey did not yet name an exact start date. However, the arrival centre at Tegel airport is to be opened as soon as possible. There is still a lack of accommodation. In the past few days alone, the Senate has organised the accommodation of 8,000 war refugees, Giffey said. "Normally we accommodate 1,000 people a month."

Five more shelters for refugees planned

It had also become apparent that many of the refugees arriving in Berlin did not want to travel elsewhere, but wanted to stay in Berlin. The buses to Lower Saxony or North Rhine-Westphalia are often not full, said the Governing Mayor. Accommodating the refugees therefore remains a major challenge, Giffey said. There are plans to open five more shelters for refugees. As recently as Wednesday, there were again talks with the hotel and restaurant association Dehoga about accommodation possibilities, for example in hostels and youth hostels.

"Every day, every night is a race"

Social Senator Katja Kipping (Left Party) also pointed out that more accommodation was urgently needed. "Every day, every night is a race between the number of accommodations that are newly acquired and the number of arrivals," she said. "I get the feeling that the staff responsible for this have to run a little faster every day." "We have acquired 1100 hostel places in the last ten days and also used them," said Kipping, adding that 650 overnight places had also been created, not least thanks to the help of church congregations. There are plans to open more hostels in the next few days, for example a large one on Kurt-Schumacher-Damm in Tegel.

Official request for assistance to the Federal Ministry of Defence planned

Giffey announced that Berlin would also submit an official request for administrative assistance to the Federal Ministry of Defence to ask for support from the Bundeswehr. This is planned for Thursday, she said. "It is still the case that Berlin is the most severely affected," Giffey said. She added that this challenge would become bigger rather than smaller in the coming days. "That's why we need the support of the federal government, and we will also request the support of the Bundeswehr by way of a request for administrative assistance."

Albrecht Broemme to take over coordination

The former long-time president of the German Federal Agency for Technical Relief, Albrecht Broemme, is to coordinate the accommodation of Ukrainian war refugees in Berlin, Giffey announced. In 2020, Broemme had already led the establishment of the Corona emergency hospital on the exhibition grounds and then coordinated the establishment of the capital's vaccination centres.

Author: dpa/
Publication date: 10 March 2022
Last updated: 10 March 2022

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