Austria has reportedly almost run out of space to shelter asylum seekers in the wake of the conflict in Ukraine
FILE PHOTO. © Global Look Press / IMAGO / Christoph Reichwein
The massive influx of refugees and asylum seekers, including those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, has pushed Austria’s accommodation capacities to the limit, the newspaper Kronen Zeitung reported on Monday. The Alpine nation of just 8 million has already resorted to setting up tent camps due to the lack of free space – a measure that has been met with heavy criticism by locals.
The federal authorities have set up at least 25 eight-person tents in various parts of the country, 23 of which are already occupied, the outlet reports, adding that the total number of such tent camps planned by the government is still unknown.
As many as 15 of these tents have been set up in the small community of St. Georgen, which already houses the federal refugee center of Thalham, the paper said. News of the plans sparked an uproar among the locals.
“We certainly won’t put up with it now,” said Ferdinand Aigner, the mayor of St. Georgen. His community already experienced a crime wave back in 2004, when the federal authorities converted Thalham into a reception center for asylum seekers. At that time, local women reported sexual harassment and business owners complained of shoplifting.