At least 175 asylum seekers from Ter Apel get shelter in four municipalities
Shelter has been arranged for at least 175 asylum seekers in the overcrowded application center in Ter Apel in four different places for Friday night. The asylum seekers have been placed in locations in Beuningen, Alphen aan den Rijn, Monnickendam and Haarlem, reports a spokesperson for the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA).
According to the spokesperson, there is still shelter for everyone in Ter Apel. This does mean that a group of asylum seekers has to sleep in Red Cross tents, in a sports hall or on a chair in waiting rooms of the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND). It is not clear how many people there are and the number can increase during the evening and night.
Halfway through the evening, the spokesperson for the COA reported that shelter had been found for 175 asylum seekers in the four municipalities in question. He then indicated that the search for more reception places was continued by the parties involved, but that did not yield any extra places.
State Secretary Eric van der Burg said earlier in the evening that he might have a solution Ter Apel's space shortage. The security regions have promised about 300 extra reception places for the coming days and, in return, the Cabinet has pledged to come up with structural solutions quickly.
The tents that the Red Cross has placed at the registration center in Ter Apel will only be dismantled "as soon as this is justified," said director Marieke van Schaik. Earlier, the organization said that the tents would remain there for a few days. "We will continue to closely monitor and support the situation in Ter Apel, where necessary with transport, water, food and tents," said Van Schaik.
In recent weeks, asylum seekers regularly had to sleep on chairs in the application center at Ter Apel, because too few beds were available. Although the Red Cross has placed tents at the registration center since this week, there are still not always enough places to sleep.
During Thursday night, asylum seekers again had to spend the night on chairs. That day, the Red Cross had spoken of of "inhumane conditions" because asylum seekers in Ter Apel had been without food, drink and other help for 15 hours.
"What happened yesterday is really not possible," said Van der Burg. That is why the Cabinet has decided on a crisis approach. The most concerned ministers immediately put their heads together for the first time on Friday, led by Minister Dilan Yeşilgöz (Justice and Security). They want to come up with solutions quickly, the State Secretary said after the consultation.
As early as Monday, Van der Burg must submit a plan to provide enough shelter places for the next three months. Ministers Hanke Bruins Slot (Internal Affairs) and Hugo de Jonge (Public Housing) must ensure that there are sufficient places for so-called status holders, people who have gone through the asylum procedure and are allowed to stay in the Netherlands. That plan should also be in place by Monday.
It is not the influx of asylum seekers, but the flow that is currently the biggest problem. 40,000 status holders reside in asylum seekers' centers. As a result, there is not enough room for new asylum seekers to move on from the application center in Ter Apel, which in turn is often overcrowded.
Reporting by ANP