Syrian refugee dies waiting on social services in Berlin? | News | DW | 27.01.2016
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Syrian refugee dies waiting on social services in Berlin?

German news platform "Spiegel Online" has reported a case of a Syrian refugee who died waiting to receive help from a health and social services office. Long lines and waits for services at the Berlin office are not new.

The report from "Spiegel Online" on Wednesday says the victim was a 24-year-old Syrian refugee who had been in Germany for several weeks. According to Diana Henniges from a refugee initiative called "Moabit hilft," the victim had been sick and repeatedly stood outside the Berlin state office for health and social affairs (LaGeSo) in the cold to receive services such as medical vouchers.

"He was drained from waiting outside in the cold," Henniges told Spiegel, adding that he "had a cold that wasn't treated. In the end, he had to wait outside with a fever."

Henniges said the man didn't have any money for food because it wasn't provided by LaGeSo, which has previously come under fire for allowing dangerous conditions to persist for refugees seeking assistance there.

The man died on Tuesday evening after Dirk Voltz – a Berlin man who has taken in several refugees in the past, including the victim – called an ambulance after finding the Syrian shivering "with a fever of 39.4" degrees Celsius (102.9 degrees Fahrenheit). A friend of Voltz's was chatting with him via mobile phone as he called the ambulance and released her account of their conversation in a Facebook post.

The friend's name on Facebook is Reyna Bruns, and her account describes Voltz riding in the ambulance with the Syrian man after his heart had stopped. Voltz signed off on the chat when the man died after they reached a hospital.

The Berlin LaGeSo told Spiegel it had received no information about the case but was looking into the details. Berlin police responded similarly to Spiegel.

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