The brand-spanking-new Asylum Center in Geneva, Switzerland exploded Friday morning just beyond Geneva Airport’s perimeter fence. That disrupted flights in and out of “Switzerland’s second-busiest airport.”
Asylum center explosion
Reports just in from Switzerland on Friday, May 20, which is morning in America, relate that flights “to and from Geneva Airport have been disrupted after a major fire broke out just beyond the perimeter fence.” The cause of that fire is “the new reception center for asylum seekers.”
The smoke may not be on the water but there is definitely fire in the sky, images and videos confirm. The runway is only a stone’s throw from the nation’s border with France.
The new asylum reception center was still under construction. No cause has been reported for the blast but according to airport spokesman Ignace Jeannerat, “it is creating a lot of smoke.”
Witnesses reported “hearing an explosion and seeing fire.” The airport suspended all landings but left take-offs up to “pilots’ discretion.” That means that incoming flights from “Lisbon, Barcelona and Madrid had been diverted, whilst others were delayed.”
Updates relate that the last landing was 5:30 p.m. local time and disruptions are expected to continue at least three hours. Some of the diverted flights landed in Lyon and Basel.
Fire crews relate that the cause of the inferno at the federal center for asylum seekers remains under investigation but that the dense black smoke is “very strong” and gets in the way of containment efforts.
Overwhelmed by Ukrainians
It seems that Switzerland has a huge need for asylum centers like the one blazing near the airport. More than two million displaced refugees from Ukraine are overwhelming everyone everywhere.
Also on Friday, Switzerland announced activation “of the ‘S-Permit,’ which facilitates emergency protection.” That lets immigrants “live and work in Switzerland for a year, with the possibility of extension.”
They came up with the idea to cover asylum seekers from conflicts in the former Yugoslavia but never put it into effect.
Without the move, “Ukrainians are otherwise permitted to stay for 90 days without a visa in Switzerland.” Another processing center is being set up at “a military barracks near the main train station.”
All the asylum centers perform the same functions. “Refugees will be supplied with emergency aid, including clothes, tickets and cash.” They’ll probably each get a steaming mug of hot chocolate, too.
As of the previous Tuesday, “Switzerland had set up 5,000 places in asylum centers across the country. So far, 847 refugees have already been placed there. In addition, more than 11,000 private individuals have volunteered to host refugees in their homes, amounting to an estimated 31,000 beds.“