In 2020, our teams provided support to homeless and other vulnerable groups to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak. Today, our mobile teams are still providing medical and psychological support in squats and non-institutionalised structures.
For the past few years, our teams have offered mental health care for migrants in Brussels. Today, our psychologists offer counselling and mental health support as part of a complete package of services for migrants and refugees transiting in Belgium.
In 2021, we noticed an increasing number of unaccompanied minors left on the streets of Brussels. In October, we decided to open a reception centre in collaboration with partners. More than 300 young migrants found protection, orientation through the programme.
Following the reception crisis of 2022 and the dire situation of asylum seekers left on the streets of Brussels, we opened a mobile clinic in September, where women, children and men can access medical and psychological care.
Our activities in 2021 in Belgium
Data and information from the International Activity Report 2021.
During winter and the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in early 2021, we opened an emergency reception and care centre for the most vulnerable people in Brussels. The aim was to isolate and treat people if they tested positive for COVID-19. We also supported the COVID-19 vaccination campaign from May to September for all vulnerable people.
In parallel, emergency shelter interventions were launched in February and May 2021. During the interventions, we became aware of large numbers of unaccompanied foreign minors among our patients. These minors had not applied for asylum in Belgium and therefore found themselves without any support in the city. To address the specific needs of this vulnerable group, MSF opened an emergency reception centre, with a capacity of 80 beds, in October 2021. The centre provided a place where unaccompanied minors could access various services, including social support, medical and psychological care and recreational activities, as well as to food and shelter.
In addition, an MSF outreach team assisted people with, or at risk of contracting, COVID-19, who are living in squats. The team also ran health promotion, and infection prevention and control activities in shelters for homeless people and migrants.
We also continued to work in the Humanitarian Hub, a joint project with other Belgian aid organisations and a citizens' initiative in Brussels, where we have been offering mental healthcare to migrants since 2017.
Support during exceptional floods in Wallonia region
When Wallonia was hit by exceptional floods in early July, we launched an emergency intervention in Liège province, one of the worst-affected areas. Our team supported a reception centre for disaster victims by coordinating activities and providing mental health assistance.
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