Between 250 and 300 asylum seekers slept outside the overcrowded refugee reception centre in Ter Apel on the evening of Saturday, the 16th of July.
The NOS states that, according to the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), the number of refugees sleeping outside the reception centre is the highest in years.
On the afternoon of the 16th, a significant number of asylum seekers had already been taken to other locations, reports the Dagblad van het Noorden. However, once evening fell, it became clear that many more asylum seekers had arrived on the premises, resulting in a high number of people sleeping outside.
While COA initially estimated that some 100 asylum seekers would have to sleep outside, the actual count had clearly grown to triple that number.
The following night on the 17th of July threatened to repeat the situation, but fortunately, temporary accommodations were arranged in time to provide shelter for all the asylum seekers outside the reception centre, reports COA.
As has been the case in the past, many of the asylum seekers chose to sleep outside the reception centre out of fear of missing appointments for interviews the next day. Unlike previous occasions wherein around 30 asylum seekers decided to sleep outside, this time the number has clearly ballooned out of control.
According to Trouw.nl, the situation on-site has deteriorated significantly, with “trash, and uncleaned toilets” interspersed in the fallout. In addition, with only 30 people allowed within the centre at a time, desperate asylum seekers are forced to push past one another in a bid to enter the building.
An unnamed spokesperson for the Dutch Council of Refugees has called the situation a “sad low point,” in the refugee reception crisis. According to the Council, the groups of refugees outside the reception centre will only grow in the coming weeks.
The Dutch Council for Refugees, according to the NOS, requests that State Secretary Van der Burg make a bid to hasten legislation so that municipalities are required to arrange new reception locations.
You can follow our initial coverage of the Ter Apel crisis, here.