The Dutch cabinet is setting up a crisis team to cope with the expected large number of refugees from Ukraine, prime minister Mark Rutte said in a short statement on Tuesday.
This means that there will be regular meetings to discuss the situation, under the leadership of justice minister Dilan Yeşilgöz, Rutte said.
No one can estimate how many refugees are heading for the Netherlands, but ‘we have to be well prepared’, the prime minister told reporters.
So far around 1,000 refugees from Ukraine have registered in the Netherlands. Given the treaty between the EU and Ukraine, they do not have to report to the Ter Apel refugee centre in Groningen but can stay with friends and family. They also have direct access to schools and to healthcare.
The 25 regional safety boards have been urged to identify at least 50,000 beds for Ukrainian nationals which can be used for months, or even years.
Safety board chiefs said on Monday that the request is complex but achievable. Hotels, holiday parks and even river cruise ships are among the locations which have already been identified.
The cabinet is also working on simplifying the rules allowing Ukrainian nationals to work in the Netherlands.
‘It will be mostly women and children coming here, whose menfolk are literally fighting on the front line. Their primary concern will be the safety of their loved ones but in time, they may want to work for a living,’ junior justice minister Eric van der Burg said.
The UN’s refugee agency UNHCR said on Tuesday that at least two million people have left Ukraine and that it expects the total to rise to five million.
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