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'No let-up' in asylum seeker crisis

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'No let-up' in asylum seeker crisis
Tents set up for asylum seekers. Photo: Vol.at
10:33 CEST+02:00
Tent cities for 400 asylum seekers are being set up in Carinthia and Burgenland - with Interior Minister Johanna Mikl-Leitner saying that she sees no end in sight for the refugee crisis.

She told the Kronen Zeitung newspaper that Austria gets as many as 370 asylum requests per day, and that she was committed to fighting people smuggling and returning refugees to the first EU country they arrived in, under the Dublin Regulation.

She said that Austria has become a top destination for refugees as they believe they are most likely to be granted asylum here. "News has spread via the Internet that our asylum procedures are carried out quickly, and that we have the best benefits and accommodation. In France, thousands of asylum seekers are sleeping in subways and in parks," she said.

She said she could understand why Hungary wanted to construct a fence on its border with Serbia but that she was in favour of more police on the border. Hungary has become a major transit country for refugees and migrants attempting to reach wealthy countries like Austria and Germany. She added that “a breaking point” had been reached but that it should be possible to have a fair distribution of refugees throughout Europe.

She said it was "unsustainable" that refugees should be sleeping outside and announced that 30 tents for 240 asylum seekers would be set up at a security training academy in Krumpendorf in Carinthia, and a further 20 tents for 160 refugees at police headquarters in Eisenstadt. Another 150 asylum seekers will be housed in three gymnasiums in Styria.

The Traiskirchen reception centre in Lower Austria is currently home to 3,200 refugees, 900 of whom do not have a proper place to sleep.

Mikl-Leitner estimated that the number of refugees currently being housed in primary care centres is 41,000, which includes 3,384 unaccompanied minors. So far, in the first five months of this year 620 asylum seekers have been sent back to the first EU country they arrived in, under the Dublin Regulation.

The Interior Ministry has also appealed to private landlords who have empty houses or halls which have some sanitary facilities to get in touch about making their properties available to house asylum seekers.

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