Last night, the shelter at Ter Apel centre for asylum seekers in the Netherlands reached maximum occupancy as people were forced to spend the night sleeping on chairs.
Managed by the Dutch Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), the Ter Apel centre in the province of Groningen is the first place where asylum seekers are registered when they arrive in the Netherlands.
According to State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol, the exact number of people who had no place to sleep last night is not known as the “exact number doesn’t really matter, it just shouldn’t happen,” Broekers-Knol says according to RTL Niews reporting.
Last week, COA sounded the alarm that they’re heading towards an imminent emergency shelter crisis scenario due to a peak in applications and a slowdown in settling those who already received their residence permit due to the Dutch housing shortage.
Currently, there are 11,000 approved status holders at COA locations waiting to be moved to a normal home.
Hotels and holiday parks
Reporting by NU.nl indicates that COA is seeking alternative methods to solve the overcrowding crisis by turning to hotels and holiday parks for the reception of asylum seekers.
While it’s unclear what COA is requesting from holiday parks, hotels were asked if they can accommodate 30 asylum seekers and provide three meals a day for the duration of two weeks.
For the time being, defence locations in Amsterdam and Ede will be used to support the reception of asylum seekers since the Goes centre, which opened last week, has already reached maximum occupancy — along with all other centres through the Netherlands.
Feature Image: radekprocyk/Depositphotos