Buses move 400 asylum-seekers from squalid Dutch camp

Aug 26, 2022, 1:51 PM | Updated: Aug 27, 2022, 1:54 am

A man sits on a Red Cross trailer as hundreds of migrants passed the night outside an overcrowded a...

A man sits on a Red Cross trailer as hundreds of migrants passed the night outside an overcrowded asylum seekers center in Ter Apel, northern Netherlands, Thursday, Aug. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

(AP Photo/Peter Dejong)

THE HAGUE, Netherlands (AP) — Authorities transferred some 400 asylum-seekers away from a makeshift camp outside an overcrowded migrant reception center in the northeastern Netherlands after a damning report called the site where hundreds of people were sleeping rough a health hazard.

Leon Veldt, a spokesman for the government’s asylum-seeker accommodation organization, said Saturday that the migrants were moved overnight to alternative accommodations in other locations.

The move came after a team from the Inspectorate for Health Care and Youth visited the squalid, temporary camp in the village of Ter Apel and said there was “a serious risk of outbreaks of infectious diseases as a result of the total lack of hygiene.”

A day earlier, 150 people were transferred to two sports halls in a central city in a bid to alleviate the crisis that has seen some 700 people sleeping outside the packed center this week. Refugee advocates likened the situation to overcrowded camps in Greece and Italy, which are common first destinations of Europe-bound asylum-seekers.

A 3-month-old baby died this week in a sports hall at the Ter Apel center, and authorities are investigating the cause of death. Two men were taken to the hospital, one for a heart attack and another for diabetes that had gone untreated for weeks.

The conditions were so bad that the Dutch branch of Doctors Without Borders sent a team there on Thursday, the relief agency’s first deployment in the Netherlands.

Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said Friday he was ashamed of the scenes in Ter Apel, On Friday night, Rutte’s government announced a raft of measures aimed at easing the country’s asylum-seeker accommodation crisis.

They include temporarily reining in refugee family reunions and the number of arriving migrants earmarked for the Netherlands under a 2016 deal between the European Union and Turkey.

The government said it also was working with local municipalities to create more homes for people who receive refugee status so they can more quickly move out of asylum-seeker centers, freeing up space for new arrivals.

The Dutch military was tasked with setting up a new camp to house people who are waiting to register asylum claims at the Ter Apel center.

Milo Schoenmaker, the board chairman of the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers, welcomed the moves, saying: “With the measures that have been announced, the application center in Ter Apel can hopefully be relieved quickly. At the same time, there are still insufficient available places to accommodate everyone.”

While many Dutch towns and cities have offered places to stay to Ukrainians who fled the war in their country, the welcome has worn thin for asylum-seekers from other countries. Most people arriving in Ter Apel are Syrians fleeing their nation’s grinding civil war.


Follow AP’s coverage of migration issues at https://apnews.com/hub/migration

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.


President Joe Biden speaks at a 2024 Prosperity Summit, July 16, 2024, in North Las Vegas, Nev. Nea...

Associated Press

Biden throws support behind VP Kamala Harris to lead Democrats against Trump, aiming to avoid further party chaos

Biden dropped out of the 2024 race for the White House on Sunday, ending his bid for reelection following a disastrous debate with Trump.

58 minutes ago

Photo: A delegate wears a hat with pins during the Republican National Convention Monday, July 15, ...

Christine Fernando, Steve People and Jill Colvin, The Associated Press

Rep. Walsh speaks for Washington as cheering GOP delegates nominate Trump for president

Cheering GOP delegates formally nominated Donald Trump for president at Monday's Republican National Convention kickoff.

6 days ago

Photo: Sen. J.D. Vance, R-Ohio, right, points toward Republican presidential candidate former Presi...

Jill Colvin, Julie Carr Smyth, Steve Peoples and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

Trump picks Sen. JD Vance of Ohio, a once-fierce critic turned loyal ally, as his GOP running mate

Donald Trump named Sen. JD Vance of Ohio as his running mate, choosing a onetime critic who became a loyal ally.

6 days ago

trump assassination...

Ayanna Alexander, The Associated Press

What to know about Trump assassination attempt and the investigation into the shooting

Authorities want to know how a shooter was able to get on top of a roof so close to where former President Donald Trump was speaking and open fire.

6 days ago

Photo: Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump is surrounded by U.S. Secret...

Julie Carr Smyth, Jill Colvin, Colleen Long, Michael Balsamo, Eric Tucker and Michelle L. Price, The Associated Press

Trump heads to convention as authorities investigate motive, security in assassination attempt

Trump called for unity and resilience after an attempt on his life added fresh uncertainty to an already tumultuous presidential campaign.

7 days ago

Photo: President Joe Biden speaks from the Roosevelt Room of the White House in Washington, Sunday,...

Will Weissert and Zeke Miller, The Associated Press

In primetime address, Biden says country must not go down road of political violence

President Joe Biden says “we can’t, we must not go down” the road of political violence in America after the attempted Trump assassination.

7 days ago

Buses move 400 asylum-seekers from squalid Dutch camp