Can take a long time to pick up refugees from Greece to Norway – NRK Norway – Overview of news from different parts of the country

Most of the refugee and migrant camps have been destroyed, after a large fire broke out in the Moria refugee camp.

The major fire prompted the Norwegian authorities to speed up the process of bringing 50 asylum seekers from Greece to Norway.

But it is not certain that those who are brought from Greece come from Moria on Lesvos. And it can take several months before they are in place in Norway.

– The instruction from the ministry states that the UDI will pick up refugees from Greece, not specifically the refugee camp Moria, says director of the asylum department in the Directorate of Immigration, Hanne Merete Jendal.

Nor can she say when the refugees from Greece can come to Norway.

On September 9, the Moria camp burned with several thousand refugees.

Photo: Angelos Tzortzinis / AFP

– No room for 50 in quarantine

The Directorate has today had a meeting with the police where they have, among other things, discussed how to find the families who need protection in Norway.

– We have a narrow group to pick out. There are only Syrian families with children, and then we have to find them. They must be screened in Greece and the police may have to come in to take a security assessment, says Jendal.

The corona pandemic makes it even more demanding to get people to Norway. It may be relevant to pick up the refugees in several groups.

At the reception center in Råde municipality, it is not possible to have 50 people in quarantine at a time.

– It is not possible today to have 50 in quarantine, at the same time as there are also other asylum seekers there, Jendal says.

Fire in Moria camp on Lesvos

The process of retrieving refugees can take a long time. Now there is little left of the camp and after the fire more people have lived on the streets, in parks or on beaches.

Foto: Panagiotis Balaskas / AP

May take several months

The UDI had a similar situation in 2016. At that time, they were asked to pick up refugees from Greece and Italy in June. The first arrived in Norway in October.

It thus took several months before the refugees arrived in Norway.

Jendal says that the situation today is far more demanding due to the corona pandemic and a chaotic situation in Greece.

– We have started the work right now, but it is difficult to say when the first ones will come. We will make it happen as soon as possible, says Jendal.

Crisis team on their way to Greece

On Monday, a crisis team of 22 aid workers left to Lesvos to participate in the relief work.

– There are 17 doctors and nurses who travel down. The assignment has a duration of up to four weeks, says Morten Harangen in the Directorate for Civil Contingency.

The group consists of pediatricians, midwives, emergency and cardiac medical personnel. In addition, they have experts in public health and infection control.

Not sure if everyone will be allowed to stay

It can therefore take a long time and the process is demanding.

In addition, the question is whether one succeeds in picking people who need protection, and whether any can be returned.

– It may be that a few who come turn out not to have a need for protection and thus not get recognized status as a refugee, says Ann-Magrit Austenå to NRK.

She is Secretary General of the Norwegian Organization for Asylum Seekers.

Fire in Moria

The Norwegian organization for asylum seekers fears that someone brought to Norway does not need protection.

Photo: ELIAS MARCOU / Reuters

– Too few and too late

Austenå believes that the government is picking up few people and that this is happening too late.

– Had the Norwegian authorities followed the calls from the Greek authorities, it would have been easier to sort out those who have a special need for protection, she says.

In this way, Norway would bring in people who actually need protection and the risk of someone having to be returned will be less.

– Now we have a catastrophic situation where there is an urgent need to get people out, says Austenå.

Because the process must take place quickly, she fears that the mapping of who needs protection will not be thorough enough. An urgent process can lead to someone being brought to Norway without the need for protection.

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