Dutch prisons, tents and conference centres to house hundreds of refugees

Akcakale - border gateEmpty prisons, conference centres and other public buildings are being turned into emergency centres to house the thousands of refugees arriving in the Netherlands as the call for action gathers pace.

Nijmegen city council is to set up a massive camp of tents to house 3,000 refugees, local paper the Gelderlander said on Wednesday.

The distinctive dome prisons in Arnhem and Haarlem will house several hundred asylum seekers, as will the Jaarbeurs exhibition centre in Utrecht, broadcaster Nos reports.

Amsterdam has also agreed to take in 1,500 people but no locations have yet been made public. Empty offices and sports halls are likely to be used, Nos says.

The refugee settlement agency COA and junior justice minister Klaas Dijkhoff had urged local authorities to pull out all the stops to identify potential locations.

In Weert, the council voted almost unanimously to house up to 1,000 people in a former army barracks for a period of up to five years. The council said the army base has all the right facilities available, making it eminently suitable to house refugees.

The Netherlands said on Monday it was increasing border checks in an effort to monitor the flow of refugees since Germany closed its border with Austria.

Last week, over 3,000 asylum seekers came to the Netherlands and the Ter Apel registration centre is struggling to cope.

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