Immigration authorities said Tuesday that they would close an asylum seeker reception centre in Iisalmi in northeast Finland. The immigration service said that the Finnish Red Cross-run centre would cease operations at the end of January, noting that the tenancy agreement had been temporary and would not be renewed in light of the current number of asylum seekers entering the country.
The immigration service described the number of asylum seekers entering Finland as “moderate” and said that so far some 375 new arrivals had applied for asylum.
Officials have also decided to wind down operations at an emergency shelter in Forssa in western Finland. Residents of the facility will be relocated to private accommodation, the services said in a statement. Two other centres will also be closed: one in Merikarvia in the Satakunta region, and the Myllyhovi shelter in Hamina in the southeast.
However immigration officials are moving to set up new accommodation centres for underage asylum seekers. New facilities for minors will open in Haapajärvi, Vihti, Evo, and Kurkela, while a reception centre for adults and families will open its doors in Rauma, southwest Finland, this week.
Fire at Tampere reception centre
Meanwhile a fire set curtains on fire at a reception centre in Tampere on Tuesday morning.
A fire broke out at the Rautaharko reception centre in Tampere when unknown individuals hurled the firebomb at the building. Staff reacted quickly and managed to put out the blaze before fire officials arrived on the scene.
According to initial information provided by rescue workers, the curtains in one room caught fire following the attack. Fire chief Johannes Valkama said that the situation could have resulted in a major incident, since the building’s corridor and stairwell had already filled with smoke.
Police are investigating the incident, and suspect the fire may have been set by a resident. Other asylum seeker reception centres in various parts of the country have previously been the targets of arson attempts.