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Düsseldorf's home of drupa, Berlin home of FESPA, open Halls for Ukrainian refugees

Messe Düsseldorf, the home of drupa 2024 and also the K plastics show this year, says it received a request to make its largest hall available to accomodate fleeing Ukrainians. The hall covers nearly 270,000 square feet and has its own changing rooms and 40 shower stalls. Messe Berlin is also accommodating refugees.

Ukrainian refugees in Germany Berlin
Ukrainian refugees inside Berlin's exhibition centre await billeting

The company said in a news release that it worked with the German Red Cross and Düsseldorf Fire Department to set up 1,000 cots in early March and used 2,500 meters of partition walls to separate the hall into smaller rooms. The cots are already filled.

Ukraine Halle6 drupa cube 2016
Hall 6 is drupa's largest Hall when the show is on

"We were very happy to accommodate the request," Wolfram N. Diener, president and CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, said adding: "On the day of construction, a large number of colleagues spontaneously lent a hand to make the accommodation possible as quickly as possible, because we are moved by the fate of the people and because we are deeply moved by the plight of the refugees. Receiving and accommodating them is a matter of course for us."

Catering is being provided by Stockheim, the regular catering partner for the messe. There is also free WiFi to help the refugees keep in touch with family and friends and to follow reports from Ukraine.

Providing money and apartments

Austrian injection moulding machinery maker Engel Group has donated €100,000 (AUD$148,000) to aid organizations and is providing apartments for its Ukrainian employees in the Czech Republic so they can house family and friends.

"We are doing whatever is currently in our power to help people," Engel CEO Stefan Engleder said in a news release. "Engel is a family business and also a large global family. This is something we are experiencing very strongly, right now."

The donated funds were transferred to three groups: Doctors Without Borders, Neighbours in Need and the Red Cross. In addition, workers at Engel operations in Germany raised €25,000 (AUD$37,000) for the Ukrainian Parish in Hanover within 24 hours, with money still coming in. The parish's network is ensuring that the money will reach the intended recipients immediately and directly.

Accommodation for Ukrainian refugees is also being found on the Rhine ships moored close to the Messe, familiar to many drupa visitors who use them as hotels during the trade fair.

FESPA's home also welcomes refugees

In Berlin, two halls at the exhibition center (Messe), 945 beds were occupied, said a spokesman for the Senate Social Administration. During March, a third and fourth hall are also scheduled to go into operation. They are intended for refugees who arrive late in the evening or at night.

In addition, 2,600 people had spent the night at the main station in trains of the railroad, BVG buses and in two large tents, said the spokesman. These people had voluntarily stayed at the station because they wanted to continue their journey. In the future, the catering for the refugees at the main station will be taken over and paid for by the federal government and Berlin city. Together with the Messe, 10,000 food portions per day will be provided to start with: Soup, sandwiches, fruit, sweets, tea and water.

Meanwhile, companies suspending operations in Russia — such as DuPont, Xerox, Ricoh, Solvay, Rehau and Dow Inc. — may be facing complications for any plans to return to smooth operations once the crisis is over.

Reuters reports that a senior member of Russia's ruling party has proposed nationalizing foreign-owned factories that shut down in the country in hopes of adding pressure on Russia to halt the invasion.

In a statement published March 7th on the United Russia website, the secretary of the ruling party's general council, Andrei Turchak, said shutting operations was a "war" against the citizens of Russia.

Perhaps he should look up the definition of war in the dictionary - it tends to involve guns, rockets and bombs. When these are used against innocent women and children, hospitals schools and churches - it's called war crimes Mr Turchak. (WFOL)