04:41 GMT +312 November 2019
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    Refugees walked in heavy rain from a public transport centre to Lappia-building refugee reception centre in Tornio, northwestern Finland

    Finland Mulls Cruise Ship to House Refugees

    © REUTERS / Jussi Nukari/Lehtikuva
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    Finland’s Red Cross plans to lease a passenger ship to accommodate incoming migrants as the country’s authorities are desperately looking for premises for the hundreds of refugees, mainly from Iraq, who have poured into the country from Sweden in recent days, local media reported.

    Over 500 migrants arrived at the border town of Tornio on Wednesday and an additional 700 had been registered since Monday. Up to 50,000 asylum seekers are expected to arrive in Finland this year, compared to 3,651 last year.

    Almost 3,000 came in in August alone, public broadcaster YLE reported on Thursday.

    Finnish Prime Minister Juha Sipila on Saturday offered to host refugees at his country home.

    Sipila, whose Center Party is in coalition with the anti-immigrant Finns Party, has repeatedly advocated greater solidarity with those seeking refuge in Europe from wars and hardship in the Middle East, Asia and Africa.

    Refugee centers in the Nordic country now housing around 5 million inhabitants are being severely strained by an unprecedented flow of arrivals.

    Finland has been a favorite destination for people from Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan, according to the Interior Ministry, while fewer Syrian nationals have been registered.

    Tags:
    registration, accommodation, asylum seekers, Center Party, Finns Party, Interior Ministry, Juha Sipila, Finland
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