Interior Ministry holds asylum crisis meeting

Interior Ministry holds asylum crisis meeting
Temporary quarters in a former university building in Vienna. Photo: APA/SCHLAGER
Austria’s Interior Ministry is holding a crisis meeting on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the country’s urgent need for more accommodation for asylum seekers.

The reception centre at Traiskirchen, and the Magdeburg Barracks in Klosterneuburg – which only opened a week ago – are bursting at the seams. Many more refugees are expected to arrive in Austria in the next few months.

Last week, more than 1,150 asylum applications were filed in Austria, the highest number in more than a decade, according to the Austrian Press Agency.

“We need national solidarity in order to avoid a situation where refugees end up being housed in tents,” a statement from the Interior Ministry said.

“We currently have a crisis situation concerning the accommodation of asylum seekers. We are faced with an increased number of applications but the states are not doing enough to provide accommodation,” Interior Ministry spokesman Karl-Heinz Grundböck said.

Currently, all federal care facilities are being used, as well as police department gyms.

The Interior Ministry meeting will discuss the possibility of temporarily using army barracks and church buildings to house refugees.

Representatives of the federal states have been invited, as well as from the Roman Catholic charity Caritas, the Evangelical Church and the defence and foreign ministries.

Only Vienna and Lower Austria are currently meeting their quotas for housing asylum seekers.

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