The Guardian September 5, 2001

Record response from Australian readers

(Norway Post 31/8/01)

"Never before has The Norway Post registered a response from readers 
like the one we now experience from our Australian readership to our 
coverage of the story of the Norwegian mercy ship "Tampa". We have been 
inundated by the largest ever flood of e-mails to our desk.

"More than 90 per cent of the letters are addressed to the Norwegian people 
and to the brave captain and crew of the "Tampa", assuring them of the 
admiration and support for what has been done for the refugees by the 
Norwegian ship, and at the same time severely criticising the Australian 
government for its handling of the situation.

"Around five per cent support the Australian government, and many say it is 
easy enough for outsiders to criticise, claiming that Norwegians who have 
no refugee problem themselves ought to receive the refugees."

In answer to this charge the Norway Post writes:

"A large influx of refugees to Norway may make it necessary to establish 
several new transit camps. Initially the Aliens Office had estimated that 
8,000 refugees would arrive in Norway this year. This number has now been 
adjusted upward to 20,000."

Norway's population is close to five million.

* * *
Unexpected asylum seeker arrivals in 1999
1 Albania 435,010 2 Macedonia 355,000 3 Indonesia 280,030 4 Tanzania 143,400 5 Pakistan 93,280 6 Bosnia & Herz 72,310 7 Dem Rep Congo 65,100 8 Kenya 38,600 9 Zambia 37,970 10 Switzerland 24,900 12 UK 20,400 13 US 19,800 14 Australia 1,900 Figures published in The Weekend Australian (1-2/9/01) "Apart from Canada, we take more refugees per capita than any country in the world." Howard.

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