Germany struggles to find housing for more than 1M refugees

Oct 10, 2022, 4:55 PM | Updated: Oct 11, 2022, 5:23 am
FILE - Ukrainian refugees queue for food in the welcome area after their arrival at the main train ...

FILE - Ukrainian refugees queue for food in the welcome area after their arrival at the main train station in Berlin, Germany, March 8, 2022. German government pledged Tuesday to provide more support to cities and towns struggling to house more than 1.1 million refugees who have arrived in the country this year mostly from war-torn Ukraine but also other countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

(AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

              FILE --People from the Ukraine most of them refugees fleeing the war, wait in front of the consular department of the Ukrainian embassy in Berlin, Germany, Friday, April 1, 2022. German government pledged Tuesday to provide more support to cities and towns struggling to house more than 1.1 million refugees who have arrived in the country this year mostly from war-torn Ukraine but also other countries such as Syria and Afghanistan.(AP Photo/Markus Schreiber,file)
            
              FILE - Ukrainian refugees queue for food in the welcome area after their arrival at the main train station in Berlin, Germany, March 8, 2022. German government pledged Tuesday to provide more support to cities and towns struggling to house more than 1.1 million refugees who have arrived in the country this year mostly from war-torn Ukraine but also other countries such as Syria and Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn, File)

BERLIN (AP) — The German government pledged Tuesday to provide more support to cities and towns struggling to house the more than 1.1 million refugees and migrants who have arrived in the country this year, mostly from war-torn Ukraine but also other countries such as Syria and Afghanistan.

After meeting with state and local officials, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said while the government already allocated federal real estate for tens of thousands of refugees earlier this year, it would immediately provide additional property for about 4,000 refugees to ease the current housing crisis. Faeser also promised financial support but did not give any concrete figures.

Several cities have recently started putting up tents and turned convention centers into temporary accommodation as regular migrant centers have become overcrowded.

“I don’t want to downplay this, we have a tense situation,” Faeser told reporters in Berlin. “That’s why we discussed today how to best coordinate our assistance to refugees … also in view of the winter months that lie ahead.”

More than 1 million people have entered Germany from Ukraine since Russia attacked the eastern European country on Feb. 24. About a third of them are children and teenagers, and more than 70 percent of the adults are women.

“It’s a big humanitarian effort to take good care of the refugees from Ukraine, to provide shelters, to provide daycare centers and schools for the children and to give them social support,” Faeser said. She added that Germany was expecting more refugees from Ukraine as Russia escalates its brutal attacks on Ukraine and people there may be struggling even more to survive during the cold winter months.

While the interior minister stressed that Germany was ready to welcome more Ukrainians despite the difficult housing situation, she struck a significantly different tone regarding asylum-seekers from other countries, especially those trying to reach Germany via the so-called Balkans migration route.

“The number of asylum applications has increased in recent months, as has the number of unauthorized entries. Not only in Germany, but overall along the European Unions’ external borders, the pressure is currently increasing,” Faeser said. “That’s why we also have to clearly ensure a limit.”

As of the end of September, 134,908 people had applied for asylum in Germany in 2022. That is around a third more than in the same period last year, according to figures from the Federal Office for Migration and Refugees. However, it’s still a far call from 2015-16, when more than 1 million migrants from countries like Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan applied for asylum in Germany.

The figures for asylum applications in 2022 are much lower than the total number of refugees because Ukrainians can enter Germany without a visa and do not need to apply for asylum.

In an effort to keep other migrants from crossing into the country, the interior minister said Germany would extend and increase its border controls to Austria for another six months and also intensify controls to the Czech Republic.

The move comes after Austria and the Czech Republic introduced temporary border controls to Slovakia last month to keep migrants from entering their countries.

Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic and Slovakia all belong to the European Union’s visa-free Schengen zone, where residents of member nations typically can cross borders without presenting passports or visas. However, Schengen countries have adopted temporary border controls in the past for various reasons, including to curb illegal migration and to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Germany also sharply criticized Serbia — which is an EU candidate country but not a member yet — for its visa-free regime with some non-EU countries. Citizens from India, for example, are increasingly flying to Serbia, where they don’t need visas unlike for EU countries, and then trying to cross into wealthier western European countries via the Balkans route.

“To be clear, Serbia’s visa practice is unacceptable,” Faeser said. “This also contributes to the movements on the Balkan route. Serbia must adapt its visa rules to those of the European Union. This is a clear expectation of the German government.”

___

Follow all AP stories on migration at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

AP

Associated Press

Flash flood kills nine at church gathering in South Africa

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — At least nine people have died while eight others are still missing in South Africa after they were swept away by a flash flood along the Jukskei river in Johannesburg, rescue officials said Sunday. Two bodies were recovered on Saturday and a further seven bodies were found when the rescue mission was […]
1 day ago
Georgia Sen. Raphael Warnock campaigns on Sept. 2, 2022, in Atlanta with other members of historica...
Associated Press

In Georgia, how sports explain a political battleground

SMYRNA, Ga. (AP) — The reception area of a metro Atlanta office suite is a veritable museum of Herschel Walker’s football success for the University of Georgia Bulldogs and the NFL. The office is part of the Atlanta Braves’ real estate development in the Major League Baseball franchise’s new suburban home. This headquarters for Georgia’s […]
1 day ago
Sterling Sheffield, an assistant professor of Speech, Language, and Hearing Sciences at the Univers...
Associated Press

FDA change ushers in cheaper, easier-to-get hearing aids

It’s now a lot easier — and cheaper — for many hard-of-hearing Americans to get help. Hearing aids can now be sold without a prescription from a specialist. Over-the-counter, or OTC, hearing aids started hitting the market in October at prices that can be thousands of dollars lower than prescription hearing aids. About 30 million […]
1 day ago
2022 Kennedy Center Honoree George Clooney, bottom third from right, reacts as he is given a should...
Associated Press

George Clooney, Gladys Knight among Kennedy Center honorees

WASHINGTON (AP) — Performers such as Gladys Knight or the Irish band U2 usually would be headlining a concert for thousands but at Sunday’s Kennedy Center Honors the tables will be turned as they and other artists will be the ones feted for their lifetime of artistic contributions. Actor, director, producer and human rights activist […]
1 day ago
CIA Officers Memorial Foundation staff members Calista Anderson, left, and Nancy Faucette, right, t...
Associated Press

Group aiding kin of slain CIA officers comes out of shadows

WASHINGTON (AP) — Calista Anderson was at a sleepover when the email from a friend arrived. She was 12 years old and had just experienced the worst moment of her life: Her mother had been killed while working overseas. The email offered a further jolt. It linked to a news article revealing that, contrary to […]
1 day ago
FILE - Light illuminates part of the Supreme Court building at dusk on Capitol Hill in Washington, ...
Associated Press

Supreme Court weighs ‘most important case’ on democracy

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Supreme Court is about to confront a new elections case, a Republican-led challenge asking the justices for a novel ruling that could significantly increase the power of state lawmakers over elections for Congress and the presidency. The court is set to hear arguments Wednesday in a case from North Carolina, where […]
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

Comcast Ready for Business Fund...
Ilona Lohrey | President and CEO, GSBA

GSBA is closing the disparity gap with Ready for Business Fund

GSBA, Comcast, and other partners are working to address disparities in access to financial resources with the Ready for Business fund.
SHIBA WA...

Medicare open enrollment is here and SHIBA can help!

The SHIBA program – part of the Office of the Insurance Commissioner – is ready to help with your Medicare open enrollment decisions.
Lake Washington Windows...

Choosing Best Windows for Your Home

Lake Washington Windows and Doors is a local window dealer offering the exclusive Leak Armor installation.
Anacortes Christmas Tree...

Come one, come all! Food, Drink, and Coastal Christmas – Anacortes has it all!

Come celebrate Anacortes’ 11th annual Bier on the Pier! Bier on the Pier takes place on October 7th and 8th and features local ciders, food trucks and live music - not to mention the beautiful views of the Guemes Channel and backdrop of downtown Anacortes.
Swedish Cyberknife Treatment...

The revolutionary treatment of Swedish CyberKnife provides better quality of life for majority of patients

There are a wide variety of treatments options available for men with prostate cancer. One of the most technologically advanced treatment options in the Pacific Northwest is Stereotactic Body Radiation Therapy using the CyberKnife platform at Swedish Medical Center.
Work at Zum Services...

Seattle Public Schools announces three-year contract with Zum

Seattle Public Schools just announced a three-year contract with a brand-new company to the Pacific Northwest to assist with their student transportation: Zum.
Germany struggles to find housing for more than 1M refugees