Netherlands: Ter Apel asylum seekers begin moving to other destinations

Netherlands: Ter Apel asylum seekers begin moving to other destinations
Ter Apel refugee reception centre in the Netherlands. Credit: Belga

At the overcrowded reception centre in Ter Apel village in the Dutch province of Groningen, several buses could be seen waiting, on Friday evening, to take asylum seekers to other locations in the country.

Earlier in the day, the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate had raised the alarm with Health Minister Ernst Kuipers and the chairman of Groningen Security Region, Koen Schuiling, about the health situation on the grounds of the reception center.

People are going to Utrecht, Stadskanaal, Zuidbroek, Almere and Groningen, a spokesperson for the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) said.

For starters, about 390 people could leave the reception centre, which had been very busy for some time, with hundreds of people sleeping outside. At least 50 people could go to Almere and 100 to the Jaarbeurs in Utrecht. However, according to the spokesperson, people continued to doubt whether they wanted to join. Some had also run away from the buses, not wanting to go along, she added. She could not say how many were left.

After being received on Friday by the municipality of Utrecht in the Jaarbeurs, the asylum seekers were scheduled to be housed on Saturday in another location in the city or region, Mayor Sharon Dijksma, chair of the Utrecht Security Region, explained.

To help solve the "distressing and acute situation," the municipality of Utrecht is sending its own people to Ter Apel in the short term to help, the spokesperson said. These include crisis managers and other auxiliary troops who will support the registration and reception of people as quickly and smoothly as possible.

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