Refugee crisis

Sweden faces huge shortfall in refugee tents

Sweden faces huge shortfall in refugee tents
The tents to be set up on Revingehed are delayed, awaiting a building permit. Photo: Drago Prvulovic/TT
Sweden won't have enough tents to house record numbers of asylum seekers, with only 4000 spaces available for an expected 50,000 new refugees.

The Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency has said that the first tents planned for 375 asylum seekers in the Nordic nation remain delayed.

It has also reported that it is unlikely that any more than 4000 refugees will be housed in tents by the end of the year. The Swedish Migration Board (Migrationsverket) has said some 50,000 refugees expected to arrive in the country between now and the end of 2015 will need to stay in tents due to a shortage of other accommodation.

Anneli Bergholm Söder from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency (MSB) told the TT newswire: “We want to warn Migrationsverket, they need to lower their expectations.”

Lack of suitable land and infrastructure are the main reasons the agency will fail to meet the demands for tent accommodation for refugees, she explained.

“It's not just about erecting a tent. You need electricity, water, sewage systems and so on. And if the tents are to be used for a longer period of time, the laws and regulations for regular buildings apply.”

The process of getting a building permit takes weeks, at the very least, she said.

MSB has found four areas that could lodge 4000 asylum seekers. But only one of them, Revingehed outside Lund in southern Sweden, has a timed schedule for the tent erection – and it has already been delayed almost a month, awaiting a building permit. The 75 tents are however set to go up there this week, on Wednesday at the earliest, MSB told Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter.

Mikael Ribbenvik, director of operations at the Swedish Migration Board, told the TT newswire that finding space for 50,000 people is a huge challenge.

He said that demand for accommodation continued to grow: “We are making extraordinary efforts right now, like putting mattresses in hallways everywhere possible.”