Political instability in the Middle East and parts of Africa, as well as the difficult situation in the refugee camps of neighbouring countries, were key factors that led to a worldwide increase in irregular migration and displacement in 2014 and 2015. According to the Federal Government, some 890,000 asylum seekers immigrated to Germany in 2015. During this time, the GRC built emergency shelters all over Germany and cared for more than 140,000 refugees in over 490 shelters in February 2016. More than 1,500 GRC volunteers and employees were deployed to support the federal government, the federal states and municipalities – in different sectors like reception, care, food or counselling.
Assistance to accommodate refugees
On behalf of the Federal Government, the GRC Head Quarter created two shelters for up to 5,000 people each in September 2015. These camps in the Bavarian Feldkirchen and Erding served the purpose of registration, care and the orderly onward transfer of refugees after a few days. Since the first refugees were admitted, more than 172,000 people (as of mid-November 2016) have been cared for in both camps.
Also large quantities of relief supplies were mobilized to provide care for people who have lost everything, such as sleeping bags, blankets as well as for example about 65,000 camp beds, 130,000 hygiene packages and 440,000 single-use bedding sets.
At the end of 2016, the Feldkirchen site was closed in coordination with the BAMF. In Erding, about 250 refugees from Greece and Italy were admitted every week in the coming months as part of a relocation programme.
Services for refugees
The GRC has been supporting refugees and migrants in Germany in many ways for decades. The refugee counselling centres advise and provide guidance during their stay in Germany. They support, for example, access to social services and medical treatment, questions about school attendance and finding accommodation.
You can read more about the offers such as counselling, tracing service and help for traumatised refugees here: Services provided for refugees by the GRC. Besides a GRC integration and participation for refugees numerous projects help to make it easier for refugees to arrive.
The German Red Cross also gives refugees the opportunity to get involved themselves, for example in the context of a Voluntary Social Year (FSJ), the Federal Voluntary Service (BFD) or as a Red Cross volunteer in one of the numerous GRC communities.