Wave of asylum applications in Netherlands slows

The number of asylum seekers entering the Netherlands dropped from about a thousand a week to about 700 a week. If the inflow remains at about 700 asylum seekers a week, the need for emergency shelters may soon be a thing of the past, Ank Bijleveld-Schouten, commissioner for the King in Overijssel, said to NRC.

"The COA told us that the crisis emergency shelters will very likely no longer be needed next week", Bijleveld-Schouten, CDA, said.

Emergency shelters refer to places asylum seekers stay for only a few days before being moved to a next shelter. These emergency shelters are usually located in a gymnasium or sports hall which are used as accommodation in disasters or other crises. They are no longer so very necessary due to the lower number of asylum seekers arriving every week and the municipalities' alternative forms of shelters taking shape.

"If this continues and the current level of inflow of 700 asylum seekers per week, ending the crisis emergency shelter in January should succeed" a spokesperson for the COA, the central agency in the Netherlands for the reception of asylum seekers, said, according to NRC. There are currently 8 emergency shelters in the Netherlands, accommodating about 500 asylum seekers.

The PvdA in The Hague does not seem to share this optimism. The Labor party in the city asked for more emergency shelter locations in the local refugee debate, pointing to the Juliana barracks in the Benoordenhout as a good option, De Gelderlander reports. "There are enough empty offices and government buildings here. And the need for emergency shelters is increasing, the inflow continues", PvdA leader in the Hague Martijn Balster said.