Good news! The management of the Jämsä asylum reception center decided today to throw away all the furniture, some mattresses, and buy new ones deal with a bed bug problem that has persisted since before November 2018.
The reception center, located in central Finland about 4 kilometers from the nearest market, is run by Pihlajalinna, a private company that offers social and healthcare services for the public sector.
Pihlajalinna was in the news earlier this year for the negligent care to the elderly at their rest homes.
The decision to do away with the furniture and some mattresses came a day after Migrant Tales published an article Sunday with pictures affecting 30-40 asylum seekers at the reception center.
The Jämsä asylum reception center houses about 120 asylum seekers.
The question that one asylum seeker who has suffered from bed bugs asks is why it has taken such a long time to solve the problem.
“Doing away with the bed bug problem costs [the company],” an asylum seeker who lives at the camp and who spoke on condition of anonymity. “That’s why it has taken such a long time to resolve. The other reason is that the camp management does not care about us.”
Migrant Tales wrote in 2016 about Luona, a private company that ran asylum reception centers and whose aim was to maximize profit.
The Jämsä reception center nurse is a good example of how the camp tries to save money.
“An asylum seeker staying at the camp was dying of cancer,” he said. “The nurse told him to drink a lot of water and take Burana, and that would relieve his pain. A while later, he was diagnosed with cancer and died last year in Jyväskylä.”
The actions of the nurse show ignorance and the lack of understanding of the suffering and trauma of refugees.
“I once visited the nurse and told her that I had problems sleeping [see Ulysses syndrome],” said the asylum seeker. “She asked me why I had such a problem and promised to get me medicine in mid-November. I’m still waiting.”
The person who visited the nurse about insomnia also suffers from panic attacks. The nurse told him just to rest and the problem would go away.
“The nurse promises to get medicine for us, but she always late with the medicine or forgets altogether,” he said. “Apart from keeping expenses as low as possible, people at the camp don’t like the nurse because she always forgets or [allegedly] lies outright.”
Budget cuts by Pihlajalinna can be seen as well in fewer staff workers at night. Before on Fridays, there was a worker at the camp until midnight, but now it is until to 9 pm.
On Saturdays and Sundays, there are employees only between noon and 6 pm.
“For the whole camp, there are only three washing machines that are in the office,” the person said. “They have promised to buy two more washing machines. On weekends, we cannot wash clothes at the camp after 6 pm.”