War refugees from Ukraine will also be accommodated at the Berlin exhibition center.
“Currently it is important to quickly provide a bed and essentials to the many people who arrive before they are transferred to suitable accommodation,” Messe Berlin spokesman Emanuel Höger said on request on Thursday.
In the short term, a temporary overnight stay is being set up at the Berlin Westend at the fairgrounds. “Messe Berlin and the German Red Cross (DRK) will prepare the lower level of Hall 11.1 and Hall 17 below the radio tower for the initial care of arriving refugees,” said Höger. “These two rooms are logistically convenient and easily accessible.”
DRK Berlin spokesman Karsten Hintzmann said that DRK volunteers were in the process of preparing the first room so that the first refugees could move in on Thursday.
In hall 11.1 there is space for around 600 people. The goal is to use the second room as well. “Then we can go up to 1000 places.”
Berlin Mayor Franziska Giffey said in the House of Representatives on Thursday that the trade fair should be used as additional capacity, “if possible, tonight.”
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According to trade fair spokesperson Höger, accommodation options for refugees will have no effect at trade fairs planned for the spring, such as Fruit Logistica or Bus2Bus. “They will take place in the exhibition halls provided for this purpose.”
Höger said that preparations for the new arrivals center at the old Tegel airport were already underway. “Messe Berlin provides support in planning, coordination and commissioning.”
DRK spokesman Hintzmann added that the start date of the arrival center in northwest Berlin is not yet certain, probably Sunday or Monday.