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Situation for asylum seekers remains dire, say Doctors of the World

Illustration shows the conditions of waiting outside for asylum seekers in front of the 'Klein Kasteeltje - Petit Chateau' Fedasil registration centre for asylum seekers in Brussels, 01 December 2021. (BELGA PHOTO HATIM KAGHAT)
05:47 16/12/2021

Doctors of the World says that the situation at the Petit-Château reception centre for asylum seekers in Brussels is still very dire. The NGO is having to administer medical care in the streets to some of those queuing outside the centre.

"The situation here has not changed over the last few weeks," said Emmy Deschuttere of Doctors of the World. “For weeks there have been long queues of people in front of the Petit-Château who want to apply for asylum in our country, but they do not get their turn to be registered.

"As long as it is not their turn, they often sleep on the street, because the emergency shelter for the homeless in Brussels is also full. At Fedasil, they can only be taken care of if they are registered as asylum seekers.”

Deschuttere added: "We continue to go on site every morning at 7.00, but this is a situation you can't sustain for months. We are at the end of our capacity." This also applies to the people in line. “Physically, they are in worse and worse shape,” she added. Images provided by Doctors of the World from outside the centre show first aid being given to people waiting.

"The humanitarian organisations on the ground are the only ones trying to make the situation a little more bearable," Deschuttere said. "(State secretary for asylum and migration) Mahdi says that reception places will be opened, but that is all in the medium term. Meanwhile, the situation remains serious. An NGO that has to carry out humanitarian aid on the streets: you don't expect that in a country like Belgium."

Written by Nick Amies