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Asylum numbers down in Sweden as tent camp stands empty and reception centre to close

Published torsdag 10 december 2015 kl 17.34
"There has been a noticeable decline in arrivals"
(2:31 min)
The empty tent camp. Photo. Photo: Lina Sundahl Djerf/Sveriges Radio
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The empty tent camp. Photo. Photo: Lina Sundahl Djerf/Sveriges Radio
Malmömässan where bus loads of asylum seekers had waited days to get registered. Photo: Anna Bubenko/Sveriges Radio.
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Malmömässan where bus loads of asylum seekers had waited days to get registered. Photo: Anna Bubenko/Sveriges Radio.

The number of asylum seekers coming to Sweden has dropped significantly enough for the Swedish Migration Agency to close a temporary reception centre in Malmö, which last week had become so busy that people waiting to be registered had been forced to sleep overnight on the floor.

"In the past week, the number of asylum seekers has declined noticeably. It is not justifiable to have such a large locale," says Kristina Hallander Spångberg, Head of Unit at the Migration Agency, who tells TT that the centre will close Friday lunchtime.

Last week, the Red Cross and Save the Children raised the alarm over the poor conditions for people forced to sleep at the Malmö Exhibition Hall, (Malmömässan), which the immigration service had rented for use as a reception centre for the thousands of refugees and asylum seekers arriving in Sweden's third largest city.

This week a long awaited tent camp was finally opened in Revinge, Skåne after weeks of planning delays. Seventeen white tents with room for 12 persons in each.There is a food tent, toilets and showers, a washing machine and television, with international channels. All ready for use, but all empty.

Asked why noone had moved in, Rebecca Bichis at the Migration Agency, says that it's because of the drop in arrivals and the easing in the acute shortage of accommodation.

When asked if the fewer arrivals was connected to the government's tighter border controls, she tells Swedish Radio News in Malmö:"I don't want to comment.I don't talk about political decisions."

At the tent camp, four guards stand watching workers with MSB, the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency, carry in the final few beds.

Are you sure that ayslum seekers are going to move into these tents?

"I can't say with any certainty.I don't know, but i'm prepared," says Aram Mahmoud, to the reporter from Swedish Radio's local channel in Malmö.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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