Authorities in Berlin were working yesterday to confirm a report that a 24-year-old man has died in Berlin after standing outside a facility for registering and accommodating refugees for days.
A member of volunteer group Moabit Hilft took the man in on Tuesday evening, a spokeswoman for the local group told DPA.
The volunteer called an ambulance for the man, who was suffering from a severe fever, but he did not survive the journey to the hospital, she said.
The death would mark another damning development at Lageso – a Berlin registration centre for asylum-seekers, which has become a symbol for the country’s lumbering and chaotic response to the refugee influx.
The German senate’s department for health and welfare has vowed to investigate the case closely.
But late yesterday afternoon it was still not able to confirm the group’s claims.
“We have checked all hospital admissions,” a department spokeswoman said, adding that they had found no trace of the man, despite volunteers claiming that he had been confirmed dead on arrival at a local hospital.
The city fire department has also been backtracking emergency calls but without results.
“Why, I ask, did he have to die,” wrote the volunteer who offered the man shelter in his home on Facebook.
“Maybe because we haven’t been given an appointment for days?” he said in his post, which stressed that the asylum-seeker had been unable to see a doctor.
The helper, however, has since deleted his Facebook posts and has refused to speak to authorities.
A spokeswoman for Moabit Hilft, a loud critic of the German capital’s handling of the migration crisis, later said that there was no reason to doubt his claims.
Lageso, a German acronym for the capital’s State Office for Health and Social Affairs, has repeatedly made the headlines in recent months with images of its long queues and tented accommodation sparking condemnation from across the political spectrum.
In November last year, a security guard was fired from his post at the shelter for using Nazi terminology to verbally abuse asylum-seekers and volunteers.
One month earlier, a four-year-old Bosnian boy was kidnapped while waiting with his family on the grounds of the local authority building.
His body was found weeks later in a case that added a tragic new dimension to the tide of suffering that drove over 1mn people to seek asylum in Germany last year.
Candles are lit next to a door at the State Office of Health and Social Affairs (Lageso) registration centre for refugees in Berlin after news spread over social media on the alleged death of a migrant. Police and health authorities in Berlin had no record of the alleged incident.