Tents set up outside overcrowded asylum center
On Wednesday evening, the Red Cross set up tents at the overcrowded asylum application center in Ter Apel to give asylum seekers a place to sleep. On Tuesday night, dozens of asylum seekers slept outside for several hours because there was no room in the center. The aid organization wanted to prevent a similar situation on Wednesday.
The Red Cross expected that about 200 asylum seekers would have nowhere to go on Wednesday. But the tents turned out to be unnecessary. Groningen managed to arrange emergency shelter for 100 people in Heerenveen, and the rest spent the night in the application center's lobby, according to BNR.
Nevertheless, Red Cross director Marieke van Schaik called the situation in Ter Apel "an absolute low point" for asylum reception in the Netherlands. The situation in the overcrowded application center, where all new asylum seekers have to report, is "below any humanitarian level and downright unacceptable," she said to BNR.
Van Schaik called it "distressing" that people have to sleep outside at the asylum application center while "many empty beds" are dedicated to Ukraine refugees. "Municipalities that have not yet done so must now take responsibility. It is time for municipalities to open up available shelter spaces to refugees, wherever they come from. Anyone who asks for asylum in the Netherlands must be treated with dignity."
State Secretary Eric van der Burg (Asylum) said on Wednesday that he expected the severe space shortage at Ter Apel to continue for almost a week. The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) expects about 200 new asylum seekers per day in the coming period.