Asylum seekers slept outside at Ter Apel registration center
Ten to twenty asylum seekers volunteered to spend the night outside at the asylum application center in Ter Apel. They built a makeshift shelter with blankets and crush barriers. Dozens of other asylum seekers who could not be accommodated elsewhere slept on chairs in the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) waiting room and on mattresses in a sports hall.
Waalre took in over 160 asylum seekers early on Tuesday evening to relieve the burden on the application center in Ter Apel, mayor Jan Boelhouwer of Waalre said. It mainly concerned families with children.
The 164 asylum seekers were actually supposed to spend Wednesday night in Waalre, in the sports halls ‘t Hazzo and De Pracht. But the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) asked the municipality to take them in a day earlier. “The application center in Ter Apel is overflowing, and there is an absolute crisis situation. Because we receive asylum seekers an evening earlier, there is more room in Ter Apel to receive other asylum seekers,” the municipality of Waalre said in a statement on Tuesday evening.
Mayor Jan Boelhouwer asked locals for understanding. “As you will understand, we had to switch immediately, but in times of crisis, this is unfortunately unavoidable. We are doing everything we can to ensure that the evening runs smoothly, and we sincerely hope for your understanding. The safety of our residents and asylum seekers comes first in this regard. The locations will be ready for the reception this evening. We are now working with all partners to be able to take in the asylum seekers.”
A spokesperson for the COA said on Tuesday evening that she expected the Ter Apel center could accommodate everyone who reports for the night from Tuesday to Wednesday. “That is because people go to Waalre, but also because we can use the crisis shelter in Standskanaal and Zuidbroek.” That turned out not to be the case.
On Monday night, the registration center was also overcrowded, resulting in 128 people sleeping on chairs in the waiting rooms and 66 on mattresses in a sports hall. About 50 people also spent the night outside on a voluntary basis.
The COA placed several awnings at the application center on Tuesday to protect people waiting in front of the center from the sun and other weather conditions, the COA spokesperson said.
Reporting by ANP