Red Cross appalled by "degrading, inhumane" situation at Ter Apel asylum center
The Red Cross is appalled by the “degrading” situation at the asylum registration center in Ter Apel. People don’t only have to sleep in chairs regularly but are also left for hours without anything to eat or drink, the aid organization said. This week the Red Cross placed 50 tents at the center to ensure that no one had to sleep outside. It will break the tents down in the coming days because it can’t perpetuate this unsustainable situation, the aid organization said.
“This is an inhumane situation, and the Red Cross cannot provide proper support in this way. We want to be there for the people in need, but the situation is untenable and inhumane. We call on the government and all those responsible to come up with a solution as soon as possible,” said Red Cross director Marieke van Schaik.
The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) is responsible for providing food and drink and guaranteeing the safety of the asylum seekers at Ter Apel. But according to the Red Cross, the agency is failing to provide for these basic needs.
The asylum seekers who slept in the Red Cross tents had nothing to eat or drink from 10:00 p.m. on Wednesday to 1:00 p.m. on Thursday, when the Red Cross itself provided food and drink. There was not enough security, and tents were broken into and stolen from, the Red Cross said.
“We are very upset about this situation,” Van Schaik said. “We know the COA staff is working very hard to manage the situation and that this is difficult. At the same time, asylum seekers are the victims of the Netherlands’ reception crisis. These are people who fled looking for a safe place. Families with children. We can’t treat people like this.”
The Red Cross appealed to the government to step in and help. “We urgently ask the government to take its responsibility,” Van Schaik said. “An unsafe situation has arisen in Ter Apel for the asylum seekers and our employees and volunteers. This cannot go on any longer.”
The Red Cross wants to be part of the solution to the reception problem and support the people in need. “But we cannot work this way. Responsibility must be taken, and asylum seekers must be treated with dignity,” Van Schaik said.
Thursday night was also very crowded at the registration center, with people sleeping in tents and waiting outside the fence. Not everyone got food, the Red Cross said to NOS.