Almost 1,000 new arrivals welcomed by Red Cross on Thursday evening
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    Almost 1,000 new arrivals welcomed by Red Cross on Thursday evening

    ©Belga
    ©Belga

    The Civic Platform in aid of refugees denounced accumulated delays in the registration of applicants and congestion at the Fedasil reception centres. The volunteer organisation notes an increase in the number of asylum seekers unregistered by reception centres between Friday of last week and Thursday, with a total of 400 people finding emergency accommodation thanks to the group’s network of host families and available housing, along with 827 sleeping in front of the WTC III building.

    Dominique Ernourld, spokesperson for the Immigration Office, says the numbers mentioned cover a period which includes a weekend and a bank holiday.

    At the same time, the Flemish-speaking Red Cross adds that up to now, no asylum seeker with a written appointment at the Immigration Office has been turned down, and that exceptions are still being made for very vulnerable new arrivals. The Red Cross does agree however, that the WTCIII facilities are almost at full capacity.

    On Thursday 465 people awaiting registration were housed at site A of the building (capacity for 500 people) night. 361 of the 500 beds at site B were allocated to new arrivals and 137 to people awaiting a place at a Fedasil centre (47 adults and 90 unaccompanied minors). A further ninety people found beds through a Red Cross network of volunteer families. “We are aware the system is about to implode and we are taking measures,” said Mieke Candaele, Fedasil spokesperson.

    Four new reception centres opened on Thursday evening – Lubbeek (Fedasil – 300 beds), Hechtel-Eksel (Red Cross – 600 beds), Scherpenheuvel (Caritas – 200 beds) Neder-over-Heembeek (Samu social – 400 beds). Towns around the country were also asked to be more proactive in welcoming people locally through CPAS’ ‘ILAs’ (LRI, local reception initiatives). Lastly, Fedasil is using a public procurement procedure to ask private companies to organise more reception centres. The number of centres has risen from 49 on July 1st to the current 74, and beds have increased from 16,000 to 28,000.

    Lars Andersen (Source: Belga)