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52 Safety and health security of asylum seekers in emergency housing, case finland and tampere
  1. Marja Nyrhinen1,
  2. Sirpa Räsänen1,
  3. Nina Juurakko-Vesikko2,
  4. Valtteri Väyrynen3
  1. 1City of Tampere, Finland
  2. 2Central Finland Police Department, Tampere Head Police Station, Finland
  3. 3Tampere Regional Rescue Department, Finland


Background The police, Tampere Regional Rescue Department, the authorities of the City of Tampere, and the third sector have worked closely together in issues related to the asylum situation, particularly as far as safety and security are concerned. On the basis of propositions made by the City and the third sector, the Rescue Department has assessed the suitability of the proposed premises as emergency accommodation facilities from the viewpoint of fire safety. The police and the Rescue Department have visited the emergency accommodation facilities, together and separately, to ensure their safety. The Rescue Department has also visited emergency accommodation facilities and reception centres to speak to the immigrants about Finnish safety usage and the operation of rescue services and emergency medical care. In addition, the personnel were educated about fire safety issues. To support the integration of asylum-seekers, Tampere Regional Rescue Department will provide safety training as part of a more extensive integration plan.

The Finnish Immigration Service received >32000 asylum applications in 2015. In previous years the total has been between 2000 to 4000. The number of asylum seekers coming to Finland via new routes (from Sweden around the Gulf of Bothnia, by ferries from Germany and by bike from Russia) increased rapidly in September. Most came without registration in other countries.

The sudden inflow of migrants urged emergency solutions in Finland. A registration centre opened in Tornio. Registration within 24 hours of those who enter Finland at Tornio helped, but lack of housing spaces caused problems to both the government and municipal officials.

Description of the problem Tampere and its surroundings are now housing about 1000 asylum seekers in emergency housing units (EHU) governed by Tampere municipality, The Finnish Red Cross and Metsätähti (private operator). The units are e.g. in disused apartment houses, elderly homes or schools: tents have not been needed. Since the EHUs has been set up urgently, the hygienic and health facilities are not optimal. The major infectious risks in crowded facilities were considered to be tuberculosis and measles. Common diseases, e.g. influenza and acute gastroenteritis, would be largely transmitted in the circumstances. Also parasites, such as scabies, were likely to be seen.

Effects/changes The staff was informed and offered the recommended vaccines. Guidelines for infectious diseases were set. A nurse and a doctor visited in the EHUs in regular basics, and emergency cases were referred to hospital. The people with symptoms of tuberculosis were screened. All the children and pregnant women were offered the same health care services as Finnish citizens.

Conclusions As of January 2016, no imminent health risks have been seen. By the conference we will have some data available of the process and health in our emergency centres.

  • Infectious diseases
  • epidemiology
  • asylum seekers
  • Tampere

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