Safety boards come up with more emergency beds for refugees


The 25 regional safety boards have agreed to locate 2,000 extra beds for asylum seekers to help with the overcrowding at the Ter Apel registration centre in Groningen.

Utrecht, Amsterdam and Haarlemmermeer have already offered to come up with additional beds and 300 more will be finalised before Thursday, broadcaster NOS said.

The situation in Ter Apel is so dire that the refugee settlement agency has erected a new marquee to cope with the number of new arrivals. 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. Aid agencies have described the situation at the centre as deplorable, with ‘children, adults, men and women sleeping together in tents.’

The safety board chiefs have also urged junior justice minister Eric van der Burg to produce a ‘permanent solution’ for the problem. They say he should come up with draft legislation which will force local authorities to provide accommodation for asylum seekers if necessary.

The shortage of beds in the reception centre has been caused by the housing crisis. Some 13,500 people who have been given official refugee status and should now move into regular housing are still living in centres because there is nowhere else for them to go.

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