Four regions picked to kick of refugee emergency bed plan


Amsterdam, Zeeland, Groningen and Friesland have been earmarked to each provide emergency accommodation for 150 refugees for the next two weeks, in an effort to end the overcrowding at the Ter Apel registration centre, where new arrivals have been left to sleep on chairs.

Refugee settlement agency COA told news agency ANP that the news is a ‘very welcome contribution to the number of available beds’ and that transport from Ter Apel to the new locations has already been arranged. The actual locations have not yet been made public.

Junior justice minister Erik van der Burg, who is charged with dealing with refugees and immigration, said last month that the Netherlands’ 25 regional safety boards would be asked to provide accommodation in turn because not enough places were being made on a voluntary basis.

The decision means that there should now be enough capacity to avoid a repeat of the chaos on Monday and earlier this year, when new arrivals were forced to sleep on chairs and in fields outside the Groningen reception centre.

The COA has capacity to house 40,000 asylum seekers. However some 14,000 beds are currently being taken by people who have been given official refugee status and should have moved to regular accommodation but cannot because of the nationwide housing shortage.

Housing minister Hugo de Jonge said last week that local authorities should give priority to refugees when social housing becomes available, to free up space in the refugee centres for new arrivals.

However, there are long waiting lists for social housing in most of the country, meaning other options will also be needed to permanently solve the crisis.

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