Riksgransen Resort, which is far above the Swedish Arctic Circle is giving shelter to Syrian and Afghan refugees. This is regarded as the latest attempt by Sweden to tackle the rising arrival of asylum seekers.
According to Reuters, around 600 refugees, mainly from Syria and Afghanistan, holed up for two months in Riksgransen. It is some 124 miles (200 km) north of the Arctic Circle and a two-hour bus ride to the nearest town – if the road is not closed by snow.
It is an example of the extremes Sweden is going to in order to house some 160,000 refugees this year in a country of 10 million people. Shelters range from heated tents to adventure theme parks, straining resources.
The manager, Sven Kuldkepp has helped arrange temporary classes and free sledges for children. There is a gym and boxing classes for adults. A room once used for meditation has been turned into a mosque. Yoga mats now face Mecca.
“As everyone knows, there is a refugee crisis in the world. Now asylum seekers are arriving in Sweden and the Migration Board has a major urgent need to find temporary housing to accommodate all those who need help. We at Lapland Resorts AB are very pleased to be able to help,” Sven Kuldkepp, CEO of Lapland Resorts, told Norrbottenskuriren.
According to Infowars, the Hotel Riksgränsen offers spa treatments, massages, a swimming pool, a bubble bath and a sauna as well as “spectacular” mountain views from its bedrooms.
The migrants will be allowed to stay at the resort until February, when the tourist ski season gets underway. More migrants are being transported to northern Sweden despite some of them complaining that the environment is too harsh.
Reuters adds, trauma and illness abound. Flu and chicken pox already spread through the hotel. But the most common ailment is insomnia, a sure sign, say nurses, of war trauma.
To make matters worse, few refugees venture outside, spending days in rooms. Many fear taking children out in such freezing temperatures, despite tourists spending thousands of dollars to visit a place famed for views of the northern lights.
“This place is like a desert island,” said nurse Asa Henriksson in a makeshift clinic by the spa’s swimming pool. “It is surrounded by a wall of mountains.”
“When the aurora comes, we tell people to go outside, lay down in the snow, and look up,” she added. “The refugees don’t. Many people here think their children could die in this cold.”