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Ministry expects 70,000 asylum requests

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Ministry expects 70,000 asylum requests
A father and son in Syria. Photo: UNHCR/B Diab
14:00 CEST+02:00
Austria’s interior ministry has said it is expecting as many as 70,000 asylum applications for the current year - up from an earlier estimate of 50,000.

The revision was based on the recent surge in applications. Nearly 1,800 requests were received last week alone, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan.

The new projections come as the discussion continues over how best to accommodate asylum seekers.  

Whilst tent camps had been set up in some areas, there has been continuing debate over the suitability of army barracks  - and if they were to be used whether that would come under the responsibility of the federal authorities or state authorities.

On Saturday police were called to a refugee tent camp in Linz after a Syrian man threatened to cut his throat with a knife after complaining about the food he had been served, according to a report on the Kronen Zeitung newspaper.  

The interior ministry said that Austria is now receiving as many asylum applications as Sweden, relative to its size.

Austria has not had such a huge influx of refugees since the Soviet Union invaded Czechoslovakia in 1968, and some 162,000 people escaped across the border into Austria.

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