The initial registration office in Moabit is now open on weekends. Word has not yet spread among the refugees: No chaos, nowhere.
A lot of fence, few refugees: This was the situation at the Lageso on the weekend. Here is an older photo from October. Photo: dpa
For the first time, the State Office for Health and Social Affairs (Lageso) was also open on the weekend – but the weekday queue did not form. Just 41 refugees had registered "provisionally" on both days in Turmstrabe, a Lageso employee reported on Sunday afternoon. By comparison, on weekdays up to 450 people queue for a gray wristband with a cryptic combination of numbers and digits on it – the number for the complete initial registration, which has only been taking place in Bundesallee for a few weeks now.
"Apparently, word of the new opening hours has not yet spread among the refugees," speculates the Lageso employee. But it probably won’t stay that way for long: "This kind of thing quickly makes the rounds among refugees in the social networks."
The new opening hours only serve to accommodate new arrivals. Anyone who is already registered and wants to pick up money from the benefits office, for example, can still only do so on weekdays. The volunteers of Moabit hilft! also make weekends – for the time being – and the volunteer doctors are also not on duty.
New emergency sleeping place across the street
The new arrangement is intended to ensure that refugees arriving on weekends get a roof over their heads more quickly. Until now, some have camped out on the sidewalk in front of the Lageso – despite the onset of cold weather. On Sunday, all new registrants are taken by bus to the initial reception center in Glockenturmstrabe – punctually at 2 p.m., the four Lageso employees close the laptops.
A father with two children by the hand arrives a few minutes late – and is directed to the gymnasium diagonally across the street. There is another innovation there, since Friday 100 emergency sleeping places. But the Lageso says that these are reserved only for those who do not yet have a gray wristband. One does not want to understand the gymnasium as a warm waiting place for already registered ones, which want to secure themselves a good starting position for a place at the front of the queue.
This does not seem to work out: 70 people slept in the gymnasium on Saturday night, says a helper. Only 17 were newly registered on Sunday.