Thirty asylum seekers slept on the floors of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) in Ter Apel on the evening 5th of July. While there was available room in emergency shelters elsewhere, many members of the group decided to remain in Ter Apel out of fear of facing severe delays in their application procedures.
One of the main worries of asylum seekers in the Netherlands is the prospect of missing an appointment with the IND. With application centres already pushed beyond capacity, losing a spot at the appointment could mean facing significant delays before finding assistance. “We have heard that if we miss that appointment, we have to wait a very long time before we are helped’, said one asylum seeker in conversation with RTV Noord.
“This feels really bad. Very bad,” said another asylum seeker to RTV Noord. He remarked on how the IND had lost his documents some eight days ago. He had been sleeping on the floor outside the application centre ever since.
These accounts are representative of the core issue at the heart of the refugee crisis: a lack of social housing. Prime Minister Mark Rutte, in a report by the NOS, has noted previously that the primary cause of the problem is a “blockage” in other asylum centres throughout the country as a result of a lack of designated housing for refugees who have already been processed as ‘status holders’.
With nowhere for these status holders to go, temporary reception centres, such as Ter Apel, which are not designed to provide long-term accommodation for asylum seekers, are forced to carry the brunt of the load.
As the backlog of status holders requiring housing increases, so too does the number of asylum seekers stuck in limbo in reception centres such as the COA in Ter Apel.
Despite emergency shelters being opened in other municipalities around the Netherlands, such as the newly opened accommodation and reception location in Deventer, it seems that the core of the issue has not yet been adequately addressed given the number of refugees who still remain stuck in Ter Apel.
Interested in learning more about the refugee crisis, and the situation in Ter Apel? You can read our previous coverage on the topic, here.