Ninety-six asylum seekers, mostly from Syria and Afghanistan, are being housed in a hotel in the Arctic Circle town of Neiden. The temperature often drops as low as –30C, and there are only a few hours of daylight a day. Photographer Alessandro Iovino describes the challenges faced by the town’s latest inhabitants
Friday 5 February 2016 10.12 EST
Neiden is a Norwegian village of 100 inhabitants, 28 miles (45km) from Kirkenes, which is a major entry point for refugees and migrants on the ‘polar route’ to northern Europe. Since October more than 24,000 people haven entered Norway from Russia, crossing at the Storskog border station near Kirkenes. Most are Syrian and Afghan; others come from Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan.
The refugees call the Neiden hotel ‘the prison’. On the main road, it is the only sign of tourism in the village and is normally only open in the summer.
The Norwegian government did not expect so many arrivals. It has distributed the asylum seekers around various isolated towns and villages, mostly in the country’s north, with average populations of about 400.
When I first arrived in Neiden I noticed there were no cafes or bakeries, no gas stations or shops, not even a cash machine. The conditions have been extreme, with temperatures often close to -30C.
See more images here. (Original published in the Guardian)