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Agency hikes Sweden refugee forecast

Published: 22 Jun 2014 11:59 GMT+02:00

Migration Board head Anders Danielsson has directed stern criticism at Sweden's municipalities for failing to provide sufficient lodging for asylum-seekers, according to a report in the Dagens Nyheter (DN) daily.
 
"The accommodation issue concerns me. It is not sustainable that some municipalities take full responsibility while others basically say "asylum-seekers fine, but not right here"," he told the newspaper.
 
The situation has forced the board to hire additional space at an additional cost of some one billion kronor ($150 million) for 2014 and the agency is considering purchasing property.
 
The number of people seeking shelter in Sweden is increasing dramatically with 2,100 applying for asylum last week alone, DN reported. The record of 82,000 from 1992 at the height of the Balkan wars could be exceeded during 2014.
 
While numbers may be increasing in Sweden the figures pale in comparison to the total number of people living as refugees worldwide, which according to a recent report now tops post-WW2 figures.
 
Turmoil in central Africa, South Sudan and the continuing conflicts in Syria and Iraq have contributed to the record numbers of human beings fleeing their homes and countries.
 
According to a report by the UN refugee agency some 51.2 million people are living as refugees from persecution or war, with the number having grown by 6 million in the past year alone. 
 
According to the UNHCR report some 6.3 million people have been refugees for years, some even decades.
 
Sweden's Migration Board released its forecast of 61,000 for 2014 as recently as April and warned that the figure could become even higher than the 70-80,000 now projected for the year due to the new intensity in the Iraq conflict.
 
Sweden received asylum applications from 54,000 people in 2013, up 24 percent on 2012 and double the figure from 2011. Anders Danielsson projected that the figures are unlikely to decline in 2015/16.

TT/The Local/pvs (news@thelocal.se)

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