Newly arrived refugees who’ve been sleeping on the pavement outside the Oslo police’s lone asylum registration center can finally be offered a bed, showers and a warm meal while they wait to be processed. The Red Cross, backed by volunteers and corporate donors, was opening a new refugee reception center on Friday near Fagerborg Church.
“We signed a contract with (state immigration agency) UDI last Thursday and we took over the locale on Friday,” Hanne Krogstadmo, leader of the center, told newspaper Dagsavisen. She and her staff have since been washing floors, furnishing and taking in supplies for the center that can house 130 refugees for a night or two before they’re transferred to more permanent asylum centers.
All will be provided with a bed, a comforter, access to toilets and showers and warm food. Special playrooms have been set up for children and a large waiting room is furnished with chairs, sofas, tables and possibly a TV.
Companies including Ikea, Porsgrund Porselen, Jysk and Borregaard have been providing furniture, dishes, linens and sundries, while volunteers will help staff the center. It was set up to relieve an acute demand for accommodation as record numbers of refugees, mostly from Syria, arrive in Norway.
“Most of the people coming here have traveled a long way and are exhausted,” said one staff member. “They mostly just need to sleep.”