Monday, November 2, 2015

Small rural German village of 102 Inhabitants obliged to take in 750 refugees.

Small rural German village of 102 Inhabitants obliged to take in 750 refugees. (RT).

A small German village containing just 102 residents and with almost no infrastructure will have to accommodate as many as 750 asylum seekers after a decision by the regional authorities. Villagers fear the area will be unable to cope with the burden.

The first group of refugees amounting to 500 people will arrive in Sumte – a small village in the German state of Lower Saxony – as early as Monday. The one-street settlement with no shops, no school and even no police station fears that its accommodation capabilities will be pushed to the limit.

Initially, the regional authorities wanted the village to house 1,000 refugees, which they informed the settlement mayor of via e-mail in early October. At that time, this news was perceived by the villagers as a hoax.

Christian Fabel, the village’s mayor, and his wife thought “it was a joke,” which “certainly could not be true,” as they could not believe that the settlement would be ordered to house a number of asylum seekers that exceeded 10 times the number of its villagers, the New York Times reported.

However, they soon realized that it was not a joke and that it was impossible to block this decision when Alexander Gotz, a spokesman of the Lower Saxony Interior Ministry, responsible for the distribution of refugees, told Fabel that the village had “two options – yes, or yes.”

Later, after the villagers protested this decision at several meetings with regional authorities citing security concerns and a lack of necessary infrastructure, the number of refugees the settlement should house was decreased from 1,000 to a maximum of 750 people.

The burden of 1,000 refugees for one village with only 102 residents is absolutely disproportionate – it cannot be compared with any other place in Germany,” the village’s mayor Christian Fabel said at the first meeting with the regional authorities devoted to this issue.

200 or 300 would be a justifiable number,” he added as quoted by the German Hamburger Abendblatt.

We have zero infrastructure here for so many people,” Fabel also said, as quoted by the New York Times.

Regional authorities disregarded these claims but admitted that the village’s sewage system was unlikely to cope with the sudden influx of 1,000 new residents, so they lowered the quota for the settlement in order to give time for the extension of that system.

At the same time, the villagers began calling for security to be beefed up. Local lawmaker Manfred Nahrstedt demanded that a special 24/7 manned police station should be established in the neighboring town of Neuhaus located five kilometers from the village.

Some local residents even suggested the creation of a special police unit monitoring refugees.
Both proposals were rejected by the deputy district police chef, Matthias Oltersdorf, who dubbed such measures “excessive,” as reported by the German NDR news.

Oltersdorf said that Sumte did not need a permanent police presence and added that safety of the villagers would be guaranteed by the fact that street lights would stay lit all night long.

In October, the Lower Saxony interior ministry decided to accommodate another group of refugees in 23 empty office buildings in Sumte that were owned by a now-defunct company. The authorities say that the offices will be used as a refugee center for a year as an emergency winter shelter and the refugees will stay in the village only for the time necessary to process their asylum requests.

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