Emergency shelter ready for Afghan evacuees
The barracks in Zoutkamp are furnished and ready to provide the first emergency shelter to people who were evacuated from Afghanistan by the government, a spokeswoman for the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) said on Wednesday. "In theory, people can already sleep there tonight, the beds are ready."
It is still unknown when the first people will come to the shelter in Groningen. "We'll receive a signal when a plane has landed and people will come here," said the COA spokeswoman. The Willem Lodewijk van Nassau barracks was designated by the Ministry of Defense as an emergency reception location on Tuesday, the COA set up the location.
The barracks can accommodate 540 people and there are rooms for 14, 9, 4 or 2 people. A pavilion was set up in an outside area on Wednesday afternoon, which will be protected by a fence that has yet to be installed. "It will serve as a dining room and recreation room, so people can be there or in their sleeping quarters." In addition, the COA will guide the Afghans and assist people with questions and concerns.
It is still unclear how long people will stay in Zoutkamp. "On arrival they first have to quarantine for ten days because of Covid, so it is certain that they will spend that time here. During that period there is an accelerated procedure at the immigration and naturalization service." The barracks will serve as the first emergency shelter, after which it is looked at whether people can be sheltered elsewhere. According to the spokeswoman, the COA initially has a one-month contract with the government to provide shelter in Zoutkamp.
For the people from Afghanistan who have a Dutch passport but have no accommodation here, shelter was arranged at Schiphol. These Afghans will be taken there after arrival and registration. If they bring family members who do not have a Dutch passport, they will receive a short-stay visa. "Medical and psychological help is also provided if necessary," said the website of the national government.
Afghan evacuees with a Dutch passport can also organize accommodation themselves, such as with friends or family. They also have the option to arrange this later and to make use of the reception at Schiphol first. In all cases, Afghans must be quarantined because of the coronavirus. Those who do not have sufficient own resources can, among other things, claim a subsidy from the government and a weekly allowance.
Reporting by ANP