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Mayor wants food distribution centre for refugees on Avenue du Port

13:46 23/09/2020

Brussels is looking into setting up a food distribution centre for refugees on Avenue du Port by the canal, the capital’s mayor Philippe Close has announced. The building in question, near Tours & Taxis, used to house automobile company PSA Retail (selling mainly Citroen, Peugeot and DS Automobiles cars).

“We and the region of Brussels have undoubtedly found a solution to donate food,” the mayor said at a 21 September meeting. The proposed site would stand conveniently next to the current ‘humanitarian hub’ at 100 Avenue du Port. This group of organisations including the Red Cross of Belgium and international humanitarian medical NGOs Médecins du Monde and Médicins Sans Frontières/Doctors without Borders, works together “to meet the needs of migrants not taken charge of by the government”.

A final agreement with the different partners involved on the food centre’s exact location and its management should be approved at the beginning of October, Close said.

“While we wait for a real solution to welcome the refugees – a decision that does not depend on us [Brussels commune], we are working towards a fairer and more united society,” he added.

When questioned by the Workers Party of Belgium, the PTB (Parti du Travail du Belgique) on Brussels’ attitude to accepting migrants from the Moria camp on the Greek island of Lesbos, destroyed by fire on 9 September, Close said that on the humanitarian side, the refugee crisis was “unacceptable”.

However, no other commune in the whole of Belgium does more for refugees than the city of Brussels, he said. The capital offers 3,200 places for different categories of homeless people (for example, refugees, asylum seekers or people with no papers) in various reception centres.