Berlin transforms former airport into refugee shelter

Berlin transforms former airport into refugee shelter
Berlin transforms former airport into refugee shelter. Image: jns.stm/

Authorities in Berlin have decided to expand a temporary refugee shelter hosted at the former airport, Tegel, in order to accommodate 3,600 Ukrainians. 

EuroNews have reported that a recent increase in the number of refugees fleeing Ukraine before a winter in which blackouts are expected has put a strain on Berlin’s ability to accommodate these people. 

Therefore, although two former terminals at Tegel Airport were already set up to welcome Ukrainian refugees in the spring, the state government is now seeking to install two big tents on the tarmac, equipped with heaters, ahead of the winter. 

There will also be a third terminal opened for registration of new arrivals, and an extra 900 beds will be set up. 

Katja Kipping, the Berlin state government’s senator for social issues, said that “With Russian President Putin targeting the country’s heat and water infrastructure and the temperatures going down below zero soon, the numbers of refugees can skyrocket at any time,”.

The Tegel airport was officially decommissioned in 2021 following the opening of the Berlin Brandenburg Airport in October 2020. Plans were in place for it to be transformed into a new neighbourhood named Urban Tech Republic. 

However, after the breakout of the war in Ukraine, these plans were changed as Germany took in 1 million refugees. On top of this influx, there has also been an increased number of asylum seekers arriving in Germany from countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. 

As a result of these numbers, the head of the German association of cities warned that many places around the country were no longer able to provide decent housing for refugees and that it would be necessary to look for ‘emergency solutions’. 

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