The Covid-19 crisis threatens the integration of refugees in Berlin


In addition to claiming life, the coronavirus pandemic takes a toll on livelihoods, educational pathways and mental health – especially for new members of a community working to gain a foothold. In Germany, hundreds of thousands of refugees who came to the country five years ago now find it more difficult to fully integrate into their new country due to Covid-19 restrictions.

In Berlin, in addition to the higher number of asylum seekers fighting coronavirus infections during the second wave of the pandemic, many remain isolated from the world in asylum centers, unable to find work. About 20,000 refugees live in such centers in the German capital.

“In normal times, our residents physically go to German lessons,” Berlin’s asylum director Peter Hermanns told FRANCE 24. “It is not possible now. Some find it difficult to work online and give up.”

For those who already have a foot in the door in German society, the situation is also uncertain. Food delivery helps restaurant owner Samer Hafez hang on during the pandemic, but, as he told FRANCE 24, the crisis can not be too much longer if his business is to stay afloat.

FRANCE 24’s Anne Mailliet, Kilian-Davy Baujard, Willy Mahler and Nick Spicer report from Berlin.

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