Molenbeek reception centre welcomes Ukrainian refugees

Molenbeek reception centre welcomes Ukrainian refugees
Asylum and Migration Minister Sammy Mahdi. Credit: Belga

A former care facility in the Brussels neighbourhood of Molenbeek-Saint-Jean that has been converted into a reception centre for asylum seekers will welcome Ukrainian refugees.

Fedasil, the federal agency for the reception of asylum seekers, has created 250 places in the former care facility, Bruzz reports. Plans to convert the building had been in the pipeline for some time, but were accelerated following the start of the war in Ukraine.

The emergency accommodation near the Basilica of Koekelberg will be short-lived: after a few days at most, people who arrive will leave for municipalities in Belgium that offer more structural housing.

Both Fedasil and Red Cross workers will be there day and night to accompany the Ukrainian refugees while they await transfer to more long-term housing.

Special measures implemented for Ukrainians fleeing war

After European Member States decided last Thursday to offer temporary protection to Ukrainian nationals fleeing the war in their country, the Belgian asylum authorities immediately implemented a number of measures.

Since Friday, all Ukrainian refugees are immediately referred to the buildings of the former Bordet Institute in Brussels. There they are immediately registered by the Immigration Office.

Persons without shelter can then contact employees of Fedasil, who connect them with one of the many Belgian municipalities that have offered accommodation en masse over the past few days. This registration and reception is open seven days a week.

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“Persons to whom we cannot immediately offer a place in a municipality can, in the meantime, go to crisis reception, such as in Molenbeek-Saint-Jean, from where they can leave as soon as possible for more long-term housing in a Belgian municipality,” Fedasil said in a press release.

On Monday, Fedasil temporarily accommodated 37 people in the new shelter.

Since the introduction of the temporary protection status last Friday, the Belgian Immigration Department has registered 699 Ukrainian refugees. 247 of them requested and received reception through Fedasil.

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