The high rise in asylum seekers entering Center Sandholm are making it difficult for the staff to keep up
The arrival of record high asylum seekers makes Eva very busy. She is a Red Cross staff member in Center Sandholm. Even though she never loses her big smile the work load at Center Sandholm is getting out of hand. Today I decided to ask Eva about her job at Center Sandholm and about all the asylum seekers who keep coming in bigger and bigger numbers.
Usually how many people arrive in Sandholm on a daily basis?
In normal days about 25 persons arrive to Sandholm.
About 80 persons arrive every day to Center Sandholm. The majority are from Syria and Eritrea. All the Eritrean who arrive are young and without family just like a lot of the Syrians. The numbers of the refugees seekers was 570 persons in January. In July, the number reached 1720. And it´s not finished.
How many staff members receive all these people?
Before there were four staff members, one in the reception at the gate and three in the office. Now we only have one extra staff member even though the number of asylum seekers entering Sandholm have tripled. Unfortunately The Red Cross is financially not able to engage other staff members.
Why do you need more staff ?
It is because the asylum seekers are waiting way too long, about 3 hours or more. It depends on the number and if it is in the day or in the night. The other reason is that we don’t have enough time to listen to the asylum seekers problems and worries. For example last time a woman was very sad and was crying, because she was waiting for a very long time without any help.
Read more: A day in Nour’s life
How busy are you these days?
We are so busy that we get help from asylum seekers who have been living in Sandholm for a long time. They have experience and help out with the translation and others things. But it is still not enough for all this people entering Sandholm. The other problem is that the asylum seekers never come within a specific time, but they come in various times day and night. That makes work complicated.
We have to receive them and after we must to give them rooms for sleeping and off course give them food too. In the day it’s a lot easier than at night. In the kitchen the chefs prepare food for 1200 people, sometimes more, and everybody have to eat.
How do you feel about your work now compared to before?
Before it was a normal work without much difficulty. We worked at ease. But now with all these people it’s not easy to follow up. In every hour, day and night, we receive asylum seekers. We feel the pressure and it’s stressful. But personally I love my job. I love helping others so I force myself to take it easy and be patient.