Thursday 25 February 2021

Cockroaches and no heating: refugees slam living conditions in centre

Photo: Depositphotos.com

A group of 200 asylum seekers housed at a refugee centre in Apeldoorn have lodged an official complaint with the COA supervisory body about the circumstances at the centre.

The letter, which DutchNews.nl has seen, carries a long list of complaints about hygiene, heating and overcrowded living conditions.

The NRC said it is highly unusual for refugees to complain officially because of fears of jeopardising their asylum procedure, but that things at the centre have come to such a pass that they were left with no alternative.

Videos and photos made available to the paper show a cockroach infested floor where dozen of refugees have only one filthy toilet between them and heating is non-existent because of a lack of maintenance. People live five or six to a room which also makes it impossible for people to follow social distancing rules.

The refugees, who are supported by refugee organisation Vluchtelingenwerk, told DutchNews.nl that that some people had not been given timely medical care and that the circumstances are so bad many experience psychological problems. COA officials have also failed to act on earlier complaints, they say.

A Vluchelingenwerk spokesman said the accommodation which has served as a refugee centre since 2018 is ‘not fit for purpose’.  ‘It’s not a great place to work, let alone having to live in the place,’ he commented.

The COA in a reaction said the situation at the Apeldoorn centre is ‘not optimal’ and that it will initiate talks with the refugees.

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