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Norwegian Billionaire Pledges 5,000 Free Nights In His Hotels For Refugees

"They can't sleep in the streets."

European politicians may be waffling over what to do with an incredible influx of refugees from the Middle East, but not Norway's Petter Stordalen.

The Norwegian billionaire, owner of Scandinavian hotel chain Nordic Choice Hotels, has pledged 5,000 free nights in his hotels to refugees temporarily in need of a place to stay. True to his word, he hosted 50 Syrian refugees this Sunday, reports Aftenposten, a Norwegian paper, putting the group up at the Quality Hotel Airport Gardermoen outside of Oslo.

"The world is seeing the biggest humanitarian crisis in Europe since World War II,” Stordalen told Forbes, explaining his decision. ”It’s impossible not to be affected by the human tragedy and by what’s occurring in the Middle East.”

"They can’t sleep in the streets,” he said.

He added the hotels are coordinating with police to ensure guests are securely escorted back to immigration officials the next day, after making sure they're properly fed.

Petter Stordalen is seen speaking in this undated Flickr photo. The Norwegian hotel magnate is donating 5,000 hotel rooms to
Petter Stordalen is seen speaking in this undated Flickr photo. The Norwegian hotel magnate is donating 5,000 hotel rooms to Syrian refugees in need of a place to stay. 

Norway's Directorate of Immigration (UDI) told Agence-France Presse it would house migrants in Stordalen's hotels only if its own resources were at capacity. 

"We appreciate Mr. Stordalens offer and we'll consider using his hotels when and if the situation is really urgent," Christine Wilberg, the director of Department for Regions, Reception and Return at the UDI told Newsweek. "The most important thing right now, however, is to find more permanent housing for the refugees."

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