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Sweden buckles under strain of unprecedented refugee crisis

Sweden will receive up to 190,000 migrants this year, mostly from Syria — more than double previous estimates, the country’s Migration Agency announced Oct. 22.

The massive wave of immigration, largely from Muslims fleeing war zones and poverty in the Middle East, is putting an enormous strain on the country’s generous womb-to-tomb welfare system.

In recent years, Sweden has taken in more refugees per capita than any other country in Europe. So far this year, more than 100,000 refugees have arrived in Sweden seeking asylum. That’s astounding, when you consider Sweden’s entire population is less than 9.8 million.

Anders Danielsson, the director general of Sweden’s Migration Agency, said the agency will need an additional 70 billion Swedish crowns (or $8.41 billion U.S.) over the next two years to cope with the huge financial burdens posed by the deluge of new refugees, Reuters reported.

“The sharp increase in asylum seekers coming to Sweden means the Migration Agency’s current capacity is no longer sufficient to provide an orderly reception of new asylum seekers,” the agency said in a statement.

“So far we have managed to give these people roofs over their heads but … that it is not sustainable for Sweden if it continues.”

Swedish Finance Minister Magdalena Andersson said asylum costs were untenable in the long term and has asked other European countries to step up and do more to ease the burden.

“Clearly, the budget shortfall is going to be bigger this year than in our most recent forecast. It is going to take longer for us to get back to balanced public finances. It is also going to mean that we are going to need to borrow money.”

As Northern European countries like Germany and Sweden bear the brunt of the Syrian refugee crisis, the wealthy Arab states of the Persian Gulf (Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates) have done next to nothing to help their Muslim brethren fleeing war-torn Syria.

“Guess how many of these Syrian refugees Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states offered to take?” asked Kenneth Roth, executive director of Human Rights Watch. “Zero.”

Update: Syrian refugees complain about free housing in Swedish woods

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