Monday, April 22, 2024

Finland readies to house asylum seekers in tents

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HELSINKI – Finland is preparing to house asylum seekers in tents and shipping containers as the inflow of refugees has accelerated after slowing down last month, the interior ministry said on Tuesday.

The Nordic country took in just over 7 000 refugees in October – about 3 800 fewer than in September – but just last week more than 2 000 asylum seekers arrived.

It expects 30 000 to 35 000 migrants to arrive this year, mostly from Iraq, compared with just 3 600 in 2014.

“Even with new centres being opened, the reception capacity will not be sufficient, and authorities are preparing for the use of tent and container accommodation,” the ministry said in a statement.

Afghanis were the biggest single group in those who arrived last week, according to ministry figures.

Neighbouring Sweden, which expects 190 000 asylum seekers this year, last week warned it could no longer guarantee finding accommodation for newly arrived refugees, and applied for EU emergency aid to cope with asylum seekers.

Finland recently stopped processing asylum claims from Afghanis out of security concerns, but has narrowed asylum criteria for Iraqis and Somalis based on its assessment that the security situation has improved in both countries. (Reuters)

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