Tent camps unsafe, risky for refugees, tent manufacturer says

Tent camps are not safe places for refugees to stay during the winter months, according Neptunus, one of the leading tent manufacturers in the Netherlands. The company calls it irresponsible to have refugees sleeping in tents, especially with the risk of storms and snowfall.

"I agree that the shelter should be sober, but the tents that are being placed now are suitable for events. Not for temporary housing in the winter months.", Dorrie Eilers of the tent manufacturer said to BNR. Snow and storms form a big risk. "You should at the very least ensure that the roofs remain snow free, otherwise you run the risk of collapse. If additionally it becomes very cold, you have to deal with a huge heating risk because the halls are not isolated."

Heumensoord, the first large refugee tent camp in the Netherlands, recently opened its doors. Earlier this week a number of refugees staying in the camp protested against the living conditions. One of their main complaints was the cold.

The government wants to open many other such camps to cope with the ever increasing number of asylum seekers entering the Netherlands. According to Eilers, that is just asking for trouble.

Neptunus recently decided not to provide tents to the central agency for the reception of asylum seekers in the Netherlands, the COA, despite the "exorbitant prices" the COA offered to pay. "Tents are not suitable to accommodate people for a longer period of time. You can do much better for a proper temporary housing."

The COA tells a different story. "Neptunus had the opportunity to tender on our minimum quality standards, but apparently had no material that could meet them", a spokesperson said to the AD. When asked about Neptunus' claim that the COA's quality standards are too low, the spokesperson said. "That's their opinion. The tents at our shelter locations are winter hardy and weather resistant."