Slovakia asylum seeker reception centre burns down

Briefing Notes, 12 September 2006

This is a summary of what was said by UNHCR spokesperson Ron Redmond to whom quoted text may be attributed at the press briefing, on 12 September 2006, at the Palais des Nations in Geneva.

In Slovakia, a refugee reception centre yesterday burned to the ground. All 40 asylum seekers accommodated in the centre in Brezova pod Bradlom, 100 km north of Bratislava, were evacuated in time and there were no injuries.

Some of those housed in the centre managed to take a few personal belongings, but most had to leave with only the clothes on their backs. The asylum seekers were taken to Gabcikovo, another accommodation centre east of Bratislava.

The fire reportedly broke out around 10:30 a.m. and was detected quickly. Flames spread rapidly in the wooden building, however, and the structure burned to the ground. Refugee children playing with a lighter apparently started the blaze.

UNHCR was notified by the authorities and our staff immediately visited the site to organise help.

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