Sunday 28 November 2021

Refugee centres are full, thousands of emergency beds are needed

Bunk beds and lockers for refugees in a Zeeland sports hall. Photo: Jonas Roosens ANP

Asylum seekers centres in the Netherlands are full and several thousand emergency beds will be needed to meet demand, refugee settlement agency COA has confirmed.

The 30,000 places in refugee centres are all taken and this means sports halls and other large buildings need to be converted into temporary accommodation to deal with new arrivals, COA said.

The current shortage is partly due to an increase in refugees, particularly from Lebanon, Tunisia and Turkey, junior justice minister Ankie Broekers-Knol told MPs last month.

On top of that, several hundred people from Afghanistan have also been evacuated to the Netherlands.

The lack of accommodation elsewhere to house people who have been granted refugee status is also an issue. Some 11,000 beds in regular refugee centres are currently lived in by people who have residency permits and are waiting to be settled in normal housing.

In addition, thousands of people are still waiting for their cases to be assessed by the immigration service IND.

The last time emergency beds were needed was in 2015, when thousands of Syrian refugees came to the Netherlands.

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