Record number of asylum seekers forced to sleep outside last night
At least 100 asylum seekers slept outside at the asylum center in Ter Apel overnight. That is a new sad record for the overcrowded asylum center. Most of those who spent the night in the open did so against their will, RTV Noord reports.
According to an RTV Noord reporter at the scene, employees of the center let some asylum seekers in to spend the night in one of the waiting rooms just before 11:30 p.m. But it was already clear that there wouldn’t be enough room for everyone. Security officers handed blankets through the gates to the waiting asylum seekers.
Around midnight, employees of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) made another round through the waiting people to make sure no kids were left outside. They found a handful of children, who they took inside to sleep on chairs or the floor in the waiting rooms.
Mainly young men were left to sleep outside. According to the reporter, they used crash barriers and blankets to make makeshift tents.
Wednesday night’s issues were partly caused by the closure of emergency shelters in Drenthe, according to RTV Noord. That resulted in the COA having 225 fewer beds than expected. The intention was to take the asylum seekers with no beds to the emergency night shelter in Stadskanaal or Zuidbroek, but the latter location turned out to be unavailable. According to the broadcaster, the COA can only use this fallback option twice a week.
In the past weeks, asylum seekers often slept outside the Ter Apel asylum registration center. But so far, it’s only been a few dozen at a time and, according to the COA, on a voluntary basis. There was space in emergency shelters elsewhere in the country, but the people were worried about missing their appointment with the Immigration and Naturalization Service (IND) the next day, so they decided to stay at the center.