First refugee family moves into foster home


As refugees continue to flow into Brussels, the first family has been placed in a foster home, organised by volunteer group Burgerplatform

1,900 arrivals last week

A family of Syrian refugees, two parents and three children, have become the first to move in with a local family. They moved from the tent camp in the Maximilian Park in Brussels to their new foster home at the weekend.

The Burgerplatform (Citizen Platform), a volunteer group of residents working with refugees, issued a call for foster families last week and received about 200 responses. Other placements are expected to follow soon.

Last week the flow of asylum applicants continued, with nearly 1,900 new arrivals in Brussels, one-quarter more than the previous week. The number of Syrians is increasing, while the number of Iraqis decreases, according to figures from the federal asylum and migration ministry.

The camp (pictured) has had to install more tents to cope with the new arrivals; there is also indoor accommodation available at the nearby WTC-III office block. The numbers remaining in the park are estimated at 400 to 500, the Burgerplatform said.

Nils Muiznieks of Latvia, commissioner for human rights at the Council of Europe, visited the park at the weekend. The encampment, he said, “is unworthy of a European capital. It is muddy, and it’s going to get worse. Children are sick. Volunteer citizens have done fantastic work, but the government needs to take over. There is more they could do to increase registrations and reduce the numbers.”

Photo: Rebecca Krizak/dpa/Corbis