On the Middenvijver on Antwerp's Left Bank, the city of Antwerp is going to build a first emergency village for Ukrainian refugees, and another one will follow in Mechelen, near the Nekkerhal.
In the first phase, the Antwerp centre will have room for 600 people, a number that can be increased to 1,000, Antwerp City announced.
"We now choose to build an emergency village for 600 people," Mayor Bart De Wever said in a press release. "That means prefabricated units (containers) which are full-fledged flats with all amenities. We can also quickly expand that to 1,000 places."
For now, the city is allocating €6 million for the units. In a week's time, the construction work will start at Blancefloerlaan. The city will have the "emergency village" ready by mid-April.
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De Wever underlined that the village will be more than just housing, as the city will also provide a doctor's office so that people can be medically screened. "We know that is really necessary. And there are also plans to possibly put a school unit there."
A second emergency village will also be constructed in Mechelen, near the Nekkerhal, announced Flemish Minister for Internal Administration and mayor of Mechelen Bart Somers said.
The first two emergency villages will function as a kind of "test village" to find out what is needed. "With the Flemish Government, we are working out an overall strategy for scaling up to residential villages," said Somers. "We have also already called on the governors to work with the local authorities to identify locations for housing villages."