Dozens of asylum seekers had to spend last night sleeping on chairs and the floor at the Ter Apel reception center as overcrowding problems continue to plague the shelter.
Managed by the asylum center coordinating body COA, the Ter Apel center is the first place where asylum seekers report when they arrive in the Netherlands. The shelter has been over capacity for years with Groningen mayor Koen Schuiling describing the asylum seekers’ situation there as “disturbing”.
A spokesperson for the COA was unable to say how many refugees were affected by the bed shortage, according to RTV Drenthe.
Asylum applications have nearly doubled in the last year which only exacerbated the accommodation problem. In recent months, some asylum seekers even had to sleep in the open air, and the COA was compelled to erect a new marquee to cope with the new arrivals.
Bizarre omstandigheden bij het aanmeldcentrum in Ter Apel: er is letterlijk geen plek meer.
Tientallen asielzoekers moeten op het grasveld voor het aanmeldcentrum slapen…
— Martijn Klungel (@MartijnKlungel) May 10, 2022
The Dutch regional safety boards have agreed to locate extra beds for six hundred asylum seekers to help with the overcrowding at the Ter Apel center. Friesland and Groningen are now accommodating refugees in sports halls in Heerenveen, Finsterwolde, and Leek. Zeeland has converted a Terneuzen library into a temporary shelter, too.
The Ter Apel registration center is designed for 2,000 asylum seekers. However, over the past several months, due to the influx of refugees from all over the world, it has been accommodating far more people than it has space for.