Messe Frankfurt supports Ukrainian refugees

Messe Frankfurt in Germany, which will be familiar to any readers who have visited the Heimtextil or Formnext trade shows, is building a first aid centre with emergency accommodation for refugees from Ukraine.

Messe Frankfurt’ is setting up a first aid centre in Hall 1. From left: Uwe Behm, Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt, Elke Voitl, Head of Social Affairs of the City of Frankfurt am Main, Peter Feldmann, Lord Mayor of the City of Frankfurt am Main and Chairman of the Supervisory Board of Messe Frankfurt. © City of Frankfurt am Main/ Ben Kilb

The plan is that Hall 1 within the Frankfurt exhibition grounds will act as a first port of call where everything necessary will be provided until the people can be placed in longer-term accommodation throughout Hesse. The emergency shelter will initially be set up in lower ground Hall 1.1 with provision to extend this to the second level, Hall 1.2, if required. The shelter will be run by the German Red Cross and the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund.

Uwe Behm, the Member of the Board of Management of Messe Frankfurt responsible for the exhibition grounds, explained: ”We have quickly and unbureaucratically set up emergency accommodation on our exhibition grounds in Hall 1, as immediate assistance is required.” He added: “This has become a first point of contact or intermediate station to provide people who have had to flee Ukraine with everything they need until they can be placed in longer-term accommodation.”

In addition, Fairconstruction, which is a subsidiary of Messe Frankfurt, is helping to equip two sports halls for refugees in Frankfurt with stand construction materials.

Peter Feldmann, Lord Mayor of the City of Frankfurt, noted: ”The people fleeing to us from Ukraine need our help. They must be able to trust that our declarations of solidarity are not just lip service.” He added: “That is why the first aid centre that we are setting up at short notice at our trade fair is so important. Frankfurt is a cosmopolitan city that has become a second home for many refugees in its history. Let’s show the people from Ukraine that they are welcome here.”

Elke Voitl, head of Frankfurt city council’s social affairs, commented: “This saves the refugees further journeys after the exhausting flight. In our experience so far, most people arrive here traumatised, very exhausted and often hungry.” She added: “About half of those seeking protection are children and young people. For them, it is particularly important to quickly have a protected and safe place to breathe again. We want to create this here in Frankfurt with the fair near the main railway station, together with all our forces.”

Separately, Messe Frankfurt has decided to ban exhibitors from Russia and Belarus and has suspended all of its visitor marketing activities in those countries, as well as all of its events in Russia. 

Meanwhile, Messe Dusseldorf, which hosts Drupa, has set up a centre for refugees in Hall 6, its largest hall at 25,000 square metres. The hall has been divided into smaller rooms with 1000 cots brought in. Catering has been provided by Stockheim, Messe Düsseldorf’s catering partner, and free WiFi has been set up.

Wolfram N. Diener, President & CEO of Messe Düsseldorf, stated: “We were very happy to accommodate the request from the Office for Migration and Integration of the City of Düsseldorf. 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.”

Messe Düsseldorf has also suspended its activities in Russia.


Usually I end these stories with a note asking readers to consider donating to help support my work but instead I’d like to point readers to the two appeals that I’m supporting:

The International Red Cross, which does incredible work around the world’s troublespots, has set up a special fund for the Ukrainian crisis and is helping civilians caught up in the fighting there.

The International Federation of Journalists has set up its Ukraine Safety Fund to support Ukrainian journalists and enable them to continue to report on the war. 


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