A Belgian Red Cross delegation will visit the Saint-Jean military base in Tournai on Wednesday. It will welcome between 450 and 790 asylum seekers in a few weeks. There was an informal meeting between mayor Paul -Olivier Delannois (PS) and the Red Cross at the Town Hall on Tuesday. The Red Cross is planning to take on new staff. They decided to create a committee to accompany the asylum seekers who will be living at the military base. Paul-Olivier Delannois has said there will be a meeting between all the parties responsible for looking after and integrating the asylum seekers (Town Hall, CPAS, Red Cross, etc…. ) in the near future. “The decision imposed on us by the federal government is not ideal for anybody, but we will do what we can to make sure everything is ok”, said the federal MP. He will be part of a commission on asylum at the federal Parliament on Wednesday.
The Belgian Red Cross will advertise for job applicants on Wednesday. They are looking to take on staff who would help integrate the asylum seekers, who will be Syrian, Somalian, Iraqi and Afghan nationals. 3 month contracts are on offer, as the federation has signed a three month deal with the Red Cross. However, a Red Cross representative says the asylum seekers could stay for up to nine months.
On Wednesday, the Red Cross will meet with the Defence department to discuss the co-habitation between the asylum seekers and the military. Billy Jungling, the director for Immigrant integration at the Red Cross, says the first asylum seekers could arrive soon. There may be around 400 asylum seekers arriving in September.
Jason Bennett (Source: Belga)