Refugee and migrant crisis: The good from the bad

A Norwegian billionaire has offered to accommodate thousands of migrants amid the European crisis.

Incoming refugees wait for a medical check after their arrival in front of the main train station in Munich, Germany in September 2015. Picture: AFP

JOHANNESBURG - A Norwegian billionaire has made one of his hotels available to accommodate refugees who do not have a place in asylum centres.

"We are offering 5,000 nights to refugees who need it," Petter Stordalen, who owns the Nordic Choice Hotels chain, wrote on Twitter.

The business tycoon told the Norwegian news agency that the migrant crisis in Europe "concerns absolutely everyone".

Stordalen added that he would also cover the meal costs for the refugees who stayed in his hotels.

The Norwegian migration board UDI said it would consider Stordalen's offer if its centres were overflowing.

Norway received 2,313 asylum requests in August, most of them Syrians, Eritreans and Afghans, the highest number registered in a single month since the 1990s.

According to reports, the number of asylum requests could reach up to 16,000 for the full year of 2015, compared to 11,480 in 2014.


As thousands of refugees continue to flood into the European Union, more questions are being asked about why the oil-rich Gulf States have so far kept their borders closed.

But officials in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, Oman and the United Arab Emarites have defended themselves by noting that each had given millions of dollars to the United Nations to help the refugees.

Abdul-Khaled Abdulla, a retired professor of the University of the UAE, says much of what the Gulf States have done has gone unreported.

"There is a lot that the Arab Gulf States have done that has not been recognised by the international community. I don't think anybody, any country, any state have helped the Syrian refugees more so than the Arab Gulf States."

Meanwhile, the United Nations (UN) said on Tuesday that at least 850,000 people are expected to cross the Mediterranean seeking refuge in Europe this year and next, giving estimates that already look conservative.

The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called for more cohesive asylum policies to deal with the growing numbers.

Additional reporting by Reuters.