October 27, 2016

Sweden Opens First Tent Camp For Refugees

Refugees and migrants wait for free blankets and raincoats before disembarking from a government chartered ferry ‘El Venizelos’ in the port of Piraeus near Athens on December 10, 2015. (AFP)

REVINGE, SWEDEN: Asylum seekers in Sweden have begun moving into the first tent camp set up for them, despite wintry temperatures as the country struggles to accommodate the large number of migrants arriving, an AFP correspondent at the scene reported today.

“The first 12 asylum seekers have moved into the tent camp set up in Revinge” in southern Sweden, the Migration Agency said in a statement.

Images of the camp of white tents, erected on a grassy field in the tranquil countryside, were striking, a sight unseen in the Scandinavian nation since the Balkans war in the early 1990s when Sweden also took in many refugees.

Today, temperatures in Revinge hovered around five degrees Celsius (41 Fahrenheit), as rain lashed the area.

Around 200 people will live in the heated tents, which sleep 12 people each.

So far only single men are being housed in the tents, as families with children and those with special needs are being prioritised for proper housing.

The Revinge tents are a temporary solution pending the construction of a more permanent camp, the Migration Agency said.

A country of 9.8 million people, Sweden has taken in more asylum seekers as a proportion of its population than any other country in Europe, and it has in recent months warned that its public services are under strain.

Around 148,000 people had sought asylum in Sweden by the end of November, according to the Migration Agency which has forecast that the number could reach up to 190,000 by the end of the year.

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