Fears of a coronavirus outbreak at Espoo’s Nihtisilta reception center

by , under W. Che an Enrique Tessieri

MTV published today the dire situation of refugees at the Luona-managed Nihtisilta reception center in Espoo. An anonymous Iraqi asylum seeker said there is no soap to wash there hands, and there is a lot of concern about coronavirus spreading.

Migrant Tales got in touch with an asylum reception center resident in Espoo who confirmed the concern and dire situation of some asylum seekers.

Read the full story (in Finnish) here.

“We are Iraqi, Afghans, and Somali refugees [at the Nihtisilta asylum reception center] and have been living there for five years,” said a refugee. “There is not enough hygiene care [by Luona] since we cannot afford to buy sanitizers.”

The asylum seeker said that all the money they receive monthly is 90 euros. The reception center does not provide any soap, detergents, or towels.

On each floor of the reception center, there are two bathrooms, which houses about 100 people.

“On the third floor [of the reception center] there is coronavirus infected asylum seekers,” he continued. “They [asylum reception staff] don’t give us any information about those that were [allegedly] infected.”

The asylum seeker said that he and others are especially concerned about the situation.

“There are no staffers, management, social worker, a nurse at the reception center,” he concluded. “Only security guards and kitchen workers.”

A bit of history

News about the Nihtisilta reception center was published in Suomen Kuvalehti and Migrant Tales about the death of an Afghan asylum seeker, Jayyed Abbas Jaffari (1995-2016).

Luona denied that there was any negligence or inadequate treatment on their behalf surrounding Jaffari’s death.

Read the full story (in Finnish) here.

In January 2016, there were a lot of stories coming out of reception centers that pointed to the ill and deficient treatment especially by Luona, a private company, of asylum seekers.

Here’s what Migrant Tales has heard after Jaffari’s death:

  • Employees at Luona have resigned due to the poor and humiliating treatment of asylum seekers as well as to the deficient medical attention they receive by the company;
  • Luona’s employees are informed not to call an ambulance without prior permission of the manager, who is difficult to reach and does not answer the phone;
  • One of the reasons why some patients, probably Jaffari, didn’t get to the hospital on time was because they had to get permission from the manager, who is speculated to be sleeping on Sunday morning and/or had his mobile phone switched off;
  • Jaffari visited the nurse at the Espoo reception center for three consecutive days. He was told to take Paracetamol and drink hot tea;
  • The manager who was on duty did not appear at work for two weeks after Jaffari’s death;
  • Many other medical treatment issues of asylum seekers are reported daily at Luona’s reception centers;
  • Employees and asylum seekers have complained to FIS about the situation;
  • FIS and the police have brought up Jaffari’s death and are said to be carrying out some sort of investigation to clear up the matter;
  • The Finnish parliament sent a questionnaire to Luona inquiring about how it runs its reception centers.

During 2016, Migrant Tales published score of stories about the poor treatment of asylum seekers at some Finnish asylum reception centers.

Stories published by Migrant Tales’s “Supermen”* on asylum reception centers during 2016.

January

February

March

April

May 

June

July

August

September

October

November 

December

“The Supermen” are a group of concerned citizens who helped to expose the abuses and racism at some of Finland’s reception centers. Some of them want to be anonymous because it would impede their priceless work in exposing future injustices and abuses of asylum seekers, migrants, and minorities. 

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