The first mobile pre-fab accommodation units for asylum-seekers were set up in Jodoigne (Walloon Brabant) on Monday afternoon in the presence of the federal state secretary for asylum policy Theo Francken, Fedasil president Jean-Pierre Luxen and Jodoigne alderman Jean-Paul Wahl. The centre in Jodoigne will have 12 units offering a total of 72 places. Belgium has created 900 places all in all to tackle the wave of migrants Belgium is currently facing. Twelve army tents, each equipped with 6 camp beds provided by the Red Cross, have been put up in Jodoigne. Twelve other Fedasil centres will also be getting mobile accommodation – Bovigny, Charleroi, Florennes, Morlanwelz, Pondrôme, Rixensart, Sugny, Sint-Truiden, Arendonk, Broechem, Poelkapelle and Kapellen.
In early August, the government decided to increase the number of reception places by 2,500, mainly using former barracks. Given the urgency of the situation and the fact that these places are not actually available as yet, a further decision was made to create 900 places in mobile units. “These units are an excellent way to provide a time-effective solution,” explained Mr. Luxen. “We are also taking on new staff at Fedasil centres so services can be maintained.”
“Belgium hasn’t undertaken a humanitarian operation on this scale for years,” said Mr. Francken. He also praised “the excellent teamwork – not always the case in the past – of the town, the army, the emergency services and organisations like the Red Cross, the Ciré, etc…”
The director of the Fedasil explained that the mobile units should be up and running by the end of the week and the first available places in barracks will be ready some time in September.
Oscar Schneider (Source: Belga)