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Berlin refugee office chief quits over migrant centre chaos

AFP , Thursday 10 Dec 2015
Berlin migrants
Migrants covered with rain capes wait on a rainy fall day for their registration at the central registration center for refugees and asylum seekers LaGeSo (Landesamt fuer Gesundheit und Soziales - State Office for Health and Social Affairs) , in Berlin, Germany OCT. 8, 2015 (Photo: AP)
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The head of Berlin's main asylum seeker registration centre has been forced to resign over the chaos plaguing the office, which is struggling to process a record number of newcomers.

The resignation by Franz Allert late Wednesday came shortly after the German capital's mayor Michael Mueller made an open call on public broadcaster RBB for "new leadership for Lageso."

Known by its acronym Lageso, Berlin's main registration centre for asylum seekers is migrants' first port of call in the German capital.

Since June, hundreds of men, women and children have queued and jostled almost daily in its unsheltered dirt courtyard, some of them for weeks, waiting for a number and an initial interview with a frazzled bureaucrat inside.

Security guards have contained the crowds, sometimes backed by police when scuffles have broken out, while neighbourhood volunteers have averted disaster by handing out clothes, warm drinks and food as the weather turned chillier.

It was also where a four-year-old Bosnian refugee was kidnapped and later raped and killed by a paedophile who apparently took advantage of the chaos at the site.

Germany is expecting to record a million in asylum seeker arrivals this year, and Berlin has registered 70,000 newcomers since January.

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