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Man who Set Himself Afire Dies

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Man who Set Himself Afire Dies

Photo: sxc.hu.

The asylum seeker from Macedonia who set himself afire on Wednesday, last week, has died of his wounds, Vísir reports.

A project manager at the Icelandic Red Cross describes the situation in Víðines, near Reykjavík, where the asylum seeker was housed, as unacceptable. The residents are isolated, idle and lacking psychological support.

The man had reportedly battled severe depression for some time. He had been in Iceland by himself, but his brother has now arrived in the country. The same day that he set himself ablaze outside the Víðines building, another asylum seeker had threatened to injure himself.

The Víðines building was recently taken into use by the Directorate of Immigration to meet an unprecedented housing need for asylum seekers. Atli Viðar Þorsteinsson, project manager of aid and humanitarian efforts at the Red Cross, remarked, “We have criticized the conditions there, both [in our communication] with the Directorate of Immigration and the Ministry [of the Interior]. Improvements have been slower than we would have liked to see. We’d say that conditions in Víðines are inadequate. People complain of a lot of isolation, a lack of transportation, a poor internet connection, and idleness. Some sum it up by saying there is little to do but to gaze at the ocean.”

Atli pointed out that last week’s events underline the need for more psychological help for asylum seekers. “[The help] is offered, but it is not nearly as efficient and fast as we would have liked to see. Therefore, requests for psychological consultations can take a considerable time to be met.”

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