An original translation by Liberty Dk.
By: Christian Kloster
There is chaos in Berlin, where the authorities are being sued by refugees who demand money
Right now a train arrives in Berlin with approximately 450 refugees daily — where authorities are pushed to the limit. Between 350 and up to a total of up to 800 find their way, every day, to Germany’s capital.
The tens of thousands of predominantly young men, who have, in recent months arrived in increasing numbers from many countries, must first queue in front of the foreigners’ agency in Lageso in the district of Moabit.
It is going to go horribly wrong.
Here, in the middle of Berlin, around 50,000 refugees and migrants are expected this year. Frustration prevails, anxiety and sometimes chaos — because the queues are endless, and now comes the cold.
A mixed bunch
Ekstra Bladet visited the area Wednesday morning and met asylum seekers from Russia, Bosnia, Albania, Nigeria, Syria, Gambia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Serbia, Kosovo, Eritrea, Macedonia, Pakistan and Montenegro.
Photo: The refugees wait for weeks, sometimes months before their number shows up on the panel. When that happens, it’s their turn to have their asylum application processed.
It is a motley crew with a few children amongst them.
60-70 percent of them, are, according to the authorities, young men traveling alone. Some want to be joined by their families.
Hundreds of people are huddled in the driving rain and 5ºC (41ºF) under blankets, sleeping bags, umbrellas and hoods in the gray weather, while the humanitarian organization Caritas sounds the alarm and warns that it cannot continue once the frost sets in.
“We can no longer rule out the possibility that people will die,” warned Caritas’ director Ulrike Kastka.
But out here they wait impatiently while officials hand out small pieces of paper with numbers that provide access so that they can — for weeks — wait in a queue until their number shows up on the board.
When it finally happened, at 10:30, guards had to pacify a restless crowd and convince them to calm down.
It wasn’t necessary for the police to intervene, as has happened in the past when there is a scuffle in the crowd.
“I got a number. That was 22 days ago. I have been here every day since. I freeze, and I have no money yet!” says 25-year-old Yonatal Hailu from Eritrea.
He is grateful that Germany gives him shelter at night.
Photo: The asylum seeker Yonatal Hailu is not satisfied with the catering: bread, but otherwise grateful to Germany.
I’m tired of getting the same boring bread every day, says the young man and sucks on a cigarette, which he says he has begged.
A sanitation worker in Lageso is far from happy with the situation.
“This is far from being under control. I spend much of my working day removing human faeces from shrubbery. Why don’t they use the toilet?” It’s available, he says from the port-a-potties of which the municipality has ordered yet more as neighbors have complained about the foul odor.
They receive the Danish equivalent of 2,678 crowns
It is only when his number appears on the board, that Yonatal Hailu will be register as having entered Germany, after which his application for asylum will be looked at. Then he can receive the equivalent of 2,678 kroner ($412, €360) per month. German social assistance recipients get 2,977 kroner ($458, €400).
But not all refugees are willing to wait. Only this week fifty of them have taken legal action against Lageso and demanded money even before they are official asylum seekers.
1000 asylum seekers daily
So far, local authorities have only been able to register 300 refugees daily, and it’s not nearly enough, say a number of organizations, who claim that there is a need for about 1000 to be registered for asylum — daily.
But the authorities cannot keep up, so people wait for weeks or months.
Thursday another registration place will open in Berlin which hopes to process 500 asylum seekers every day.
Neighbor: I Am SO VERY Angry
Photo: I’m not comfortable with these young men, they storm in here and want me to provide power for their iPhones, says salon owner Goerhke.
Mrs. Goerhke is angry.
“Stinking angry,” she says.
She runs a small hair salon in Turmstrasse, a few hundred meters from the registration center in Lageso where hundreds — some days thousands — of refugees wait daily to be registered as asylum seekers.
“There are a lot of problems and unrest in the area. They pee out here in front of my salon, so on hot days it smells terrible. But the worst is that we feel unsafe — some days there are riots — street fighting — when different groups of refugees get into fights with each other. What a commotion with the police and everything! So I hurry up and lock the door until it has calmed down,” she says.
Have to barricade themselves
“It is unbelievable that it’s reached the point where you almost have to barricade yourself,” says Mrs. Goerhke, who emphasizes that she believes that people from war zones should be welcome in Germany — if they behave peacefully.
“But why is it almost exclusively strong, energetic, young healthy men with iPhones who are here? And who constantly push themselves in here because they want to charge their phones. They should not be doing that. Nein — Bundeskanzlerin Merkel must speak out. She cannot figure it out, so Merkel must go. Our limit (border) has been reached. Quite literally,” she says.