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'Tent city' for refugees in Traiskirchen centre

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'Tent city' for refugees in Traiskirchen centre
Photo: Vol.at
10:24 CEST+02:00
The Interior Ministry has announced that it will be putting up tents for 480 refugees in the grounds of a former security academy in Traiskirchen (Lower Austria), to ease the problem of overcrowding at the refugee processing centre.

Traiskirchen mayor Andreas Babler (SPÖ) had requested that the number of refugees at the centre should be reduced but said Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner's (ÖVP) tent solution is “unlawful”.

The centre is overflowing with more than 2,000 refugees, even though the upper limit is meant to be 480 people.

In an interview with Austrian broadcaster ORF he said he couldn't understand why some refugees had not been transferred to other states and spoke of “shabby politics”, accusing Mikl-Leitner of trying to push the responsibility onto NGO's and state governments. He went so far as to say that Chancellor Werner Faymann should replace Mikl-Leitner.

On Saturday night refugees set fire to several mattresses in the reception centre, in protest at the overcrowded conditions. Babler requested a reduction in the number of people housed there within four days - asking for new quarters for 1,400 people.

On Wednesday 160 unaccompanied minors from Traiskirchen will be transferred to other accommodation and 480 refugees are set to be housed in tents. Babler said that the tents could not be erected “without a license”, according to Lower Austrian regulations - which are different to those in Salzburg and Upper Austria, where tent camps have already been set up.

Babler has asked for “urgent help” from Lower Austrian governor Erwin Pröll (ÖVP), and has said that the number of refugees is causing tensions in the town. 

The government has been criticized for housing refugees in tent camps in Salzburg and Linz, during one of the coldest and wettest springs on record.

There has been a recent surge in applications for asylum in Austria. Nearly 1,800 requests were received last week alone, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan.

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