Refugee registration centre chaos continues as officials put up a new marquee
The situation at the Ter Apel refugee registration centre is so dire that the settlement agency COA has erected another marquee to act as temporary accommodation for refugees, without official permission from the local council.
‘It was the lesser of two evils,’ an agency spokesman told local broadcaster RTV Noord. ‘Because we cannot move anyone on to a new location, we are housing far more people than we should be.’
Asylum seekers from countries such as Syria, Afghanistan and Yemen are required to first register in Ter Apel, before being placed in regular refugee centres while their claims are processed.
Ter Apel can house 275 people in emergency accommodation but there are now some 700 people sleeping there – hence the decision to put up a new marquee.
Aid agencies have described the situation at the centre as deplorable, with ‘children, adults, men and women sleeping together in tents.’
‘There is no privacy and access to medical and psychological help is extremely limited,’ Unicef, the Red Cross and Vluchtelingenwerk said.
Utrecht city council has now offered 200 emergency places for asylum seekers from Ter Apel, in temporary accommodation in the former Holland Casino building next to the Jaarbeurs exhibition centre.
Ukrainian refugees do not have to register in Ter Apel because of a friendship treaty between Ukraine and the EU.
COA has capacity to accommodate almost 32,000 refugees across 74 locations. However, nearly 11,000 places are being taken up by people who have been granted refugee status but cannot be rehoused because of the current housing crisis.
Several centres are also closing in the coming months, cutting the number of beds by a further 2,500.
The 25 regional safety board chiefs are due to meet later on Monday to discuss the crisis.
According to the NRC, the Groningen safety board is threatening to close the Ter Apel centre altogether because of the overcrowding and the ‘unacceptable’ living conditions.
Thank you for donating to DutchNews.nl.
We could not provide the Dutch News service, and keep it free of charge, without the generous support of our readers. Your donations allow us to report on issues you tell us matter, and provide you with a summary of the most important Dutch news each day.Make a donation