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Switzerland to accommodate asylum seekers in army barracks

Published on 02/03/2012

Switzerland will ask its armed forces to accommodate thousands of asylum seekers in their barracks after facing a massive influx of migrants.

Following a government decision Friday, the defence ministry is to provide room for about 4,000 migrants, with a first 2,000 beds to be provided within six months.

Another 2,000 are to be made available by the end of 2013.

The barracks will have to be accessible year-round, so those at high altitude cannot be used for the purpose.

Migrants filed 2,653 new asylum requests in January alone, the highest figure since October 2002.

Last year, the number of requests surged 45 percent, to 22,551, notably because of uprisings in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia that toppled longtime leaders.

According to Swiss government statistics, most requests were made by Eritreans (3,356), followed by Tunisians (2,574) and Nigerians (1,895).

Switzerland granted 3,711 asylum requests, up from 3,449 in 2010.