Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees arrive daily with 1,000 helped in Amsterdam; Mayors to discuss situation
On Sunday, the Netherlands was offering shelter to over 6,200 Ukrainians, the Ministry of Justice and Security said. That is 1,500 more than a day earlier and almost 3,000 more than on Friday. The Red Cross reception location in the RAI in Amsterdam helped over 1,000 refugees find a shelter spot since it opened on Wednesday. The 25 mayors on the Security Council will meet digitally on Monday to discuss the situation.
The number of reception places for Ukrainian refugees in the Netherlands increased by 3,000 to more than 14,000 in 24 hours, a spokesperson for the Justice Ministry said. The Netherlands aims to have at least 50,000 reception places in the coming days.
In Amsterdam, the Red Cross set up a central location in the RAI where refugees from Ukraine are received, registered, and referred to a shelter within or outside the Amsterdam region. Over a thousand people have moved through the central location since it opened on Wednesday.
According to the Red Cross, people often arrive tired and hungry after a long journey. The organization provides them with food and drink before being transferred to shelters. According to a spokeswoman, there are many mothers with children, but also older men or young couples. Russians who are stranded also report to the RAI. These include students or truck drivers, for example, who can no longer access their bank account. As a result, they can't pay to get back home or stay anywhere in the Netherlands.
The Red Cross also set up such a Humanitarian Service Point at Utrecht Central Station.
The 25 mayors of the Security Council have been meeting every week for two years due to the coronavirus pandemic. Now the agenda of that meeting is switching to the consequences of the war in Ukraine. "We are not thrilled to immediately have another crisis on our plate because a lot has been asked of civil servants in the past years. But it has to be done," said Hubert Bruls, chairman of the Security Council and mayor of Nijmegen.
The security regions are responsible for providing 50,000 shelter spaces for Ukrainian refugees. Bruls expects that many more beds will be needed if the war doesn't end quickly and Ukrainians end up needing to stay in the Netherlands for many months or years.
Because Ukrainians can stay in the Netherlands without a residency permit for a period, they do not have to apply for asylum. The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) is therefore not responsible for their shelter, healthcare, education, and work. The municipalities are responsible for arranging shelter, but it is unclear who will coordinate the rest.
Reporting by ANP.