Construction of emergency asylum seekers' shelter begins in Zoutkamp
Construction of the emergency reception location for asylum seekers in Groningen's Zoutkamp in the municipality of Het Hogeland has started. A number of large white tents have been set up on a Ministry of Defense site in the Marnewaard.
The barracks, which can accommodate 700 people, will take in refugees who are waiting to start the asylum application procedure in the application center in Ter Apel. The nearby village of Zoutkamp is already hosting 500 people from Afghanistan, according to NRC. Zoutkamp has just under 1,200 inhabitants.
“[At the barracks] they will get a neat bed, shower and food,” Het Hogeland Mayor Henk Jan Bolding told NRC. “As soon as they are registered in Ter Apel, they are forwarded to another reception location.”
The Willem Lodewijk van Nassaukazerne is located a bit above the village in the municipality of Het Hogeland and about 100 kilometers from Ter Apel. Daily buses will bring asylum seekers back and forth between the two locations, a journey of one and a half hours, according to NRC.
However, because the emergency reception location is from the Ministry of Defense, it is not ideal, Bolding said. “That is a thing, because there is shooting there," he told NRC. "So we have to warn the people with war traumas.”
The shelter will open on Sept. 10. The decision to house asylum seekers through the Ministry of Defense was announced on Aug. 26 as an emergency measure to deal with the crisis at Ter Apel. The same day, asylum seekers were evacuated from the severely overcrowded application center due to concerns for their health and basic hygiene.
"What happens in Ter Apel can no longer be done," Bolding said, according to NRC. "Everyone is ashamed of that."
Reporting by ANP and NL Times