Container Village in Bern – “Quick Shot”: Massive Criticism at the Mega Refugee Camp – News

Container Village in Bern – “Quick Shot”: Massive Criticism at the Mega Refugee Camp – News


A container estate for 1,000 refugees from Ukraine is being built in Bern. An emergency accommodation expert now has huge criticism of the project. These are the main points.

From July at the earliest, as many as 1,000 refugees from Ukraine should move to the container village in Viererfeld in Bern. In recent weeks, the canton of Bern has hurriedly tore the settlement from the ground.

The whole thing was a rush, says Ueli Salzmann, architect and longtime expert in emergency shelters. The container village has been designed “fundamentally wrong” compared to European guidelines and does not meet minimum humanitarian standards, Tamedia told the newspaper.

“For Lesbos” – these are the points of criticism

Incorrect room layout, far too little living space per person. – In our trainings, we use this type of housing estate architecture as an example of what not to do – she continues. Over the past 30 years, Salzmann has planned numerous housing estates for the emergency services of the United Nations and the International Red Cross.

Ukraine: This is what the container village in Bern looks like

container villagePhoto 1/5

Caption: Guangzhou is building a container village for 1000 Ukrainian refugees in Viererfeld, Bern. key stone

container villagePhoto 2/5

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Legend: The first people could move into the container settlement in July. key stone

Stefan Bähler in front of the containersPhoto 3/5

Legend: Project manager Stefan Bähler resists harsh criticism. The project is not a quick shot. SRF

kitchen dishwashersPhoto 4/5

Legend: Refugees have 16 cooking stations for every 200 people. SRF

ContainerPhoto 5/5

Legend: A maximum of four people should live in a container. key stone

The expert criticizes not only the high housing density – with full occupancy, a family of four is entitled to 15 m2 of living space – in particular, the layout of two-story residential modules.

“Such centers should be organized around a central circle,” Salzmann continues. Because in the network, traumatized residents would feel like in a military barracks or in a prison. According to Salzmann, the burned down Lesvos refugee camp was laid out in a similar way to the settlement in Viererfeld.

Plan a container village

Caption: Cramped conditions: 200 people in five rows live in the container village. SRF

Salzmann reiterates his criticism of the SRF. “You can’t live in such a small space.” And still criticizes the lack of semi-private anterooms in front of single containers. “There will be chaos.” If the refugees had only been here for a month, he would have thought it’s okay. But no one knows exactly how long they would actually have to live under such conditions. “This is not life,” continued Salzmann.

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That’s what the mayor says about the criticism

Open the box. Close the box

Bern’s mayor, Alec von Graffenried, defends the container village in Viererfeld. You have to take the context into account: it is your first visit to Switzerland. It is always better if the refugees live in containers than in underground bunkers.

The city of Bern has made land available to the canton on Viererfeld and will be responsible for running the settlement. Planning is a canton business.

All these mistakes could have been avoided with good planning, says Ueli Salzmann. “And for the same price,” says the expert. A container village costs more than ten million Swiss francs.

“No Change”: Canton defends itself against criticism

Project manager Stefan Bähler showed the SRF reporter around the site. Bähler dismisses criticism, for example, regarding the “barracks” arrangement of containers. “Due to the space available, we cannot simply put together the living units freely,” says Bähler. Bicycles and other personal items can be stored in separate containers.

Stefan Baehler

Legend: “No change”: project manager Stefan Bähler dismisses the criticism. SRF

In an emergency, they reacted quickly and planned under a lot of time pressure. The Canton of Bern has the necessary knowledge to implement such container billing, he continues.

Due to the high speed of construction, there are no changes.

Bähler wants to take Salzmann’s criticism seriously. But: “Basically, there is nothing to change, also because of the rapid construction speed,” says Bähler, who previously worked as the cantonal vaccination manager. Also, the container village is not fully occupied. “If a woman with two children enters the container, she will not be occupied on the extra bed.”

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It is still unclear how many people will actually live in the container village. The canton now has other reserves of over 600 beds.

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