Why there are too few shelters for refugees

What happened?
Why is this news?

If you come to the Netherlands as a refugee, you must sign up in Ter Apel in Groningen. There‘s the only sign-in center in our country. From there, people are spread across different shelters in the Netherlands.

It’s

not possible to spread that right now, because there‘s no place left. This requires people to sleep in, for example, waiting rooms and offices near the login center.

The mayor of Ter Apel worries, he says the overcrowded shelter is unhealthy. โ€œSo many people in a space that isn’t meant to do so isn‘t fresh. The sewer system is not calculated on that.โ€ That’s why he also warns of infectious diseases.

Why are there more refugees than shelters?

The corona crisis caused fewer refugees to the Netherlands for a while, but now the number of people is increasing again. Most of the people who come here have a Syrian or Turkish background.

There are also many Afghans fleeing the Taliban, a terror group that took charge of Afghanistan in August. Learn more about that in this article.

It‘s not the first time the refugee shelter has been under pressure. Six years ago, thousands of people from North Africa and the Middle East fled war and violence.

In the autumn of 2015, almost 10,000 people came to the Netherlands a month. That’s why approximately 100 shelters were opened. Not everyone agreed, the extra shelters then led to protests in the country.

Agreements were therefore made: the additional shelters were allowed to be used for a maximum of five years. After that, many spots were closed. Many municipalities don‘t dare to open new locations for large groups anymore because they fear residents don’t want to.

Shelters also have a different problem. There are 11,000 people living in the shelter who are allowed to stay in the Netherlands for at least five years but have nowhere to go Because of the need for housing, there are hardly any homes for those people.

Who finds what?

The mayor of Ter Apel thinks something needs to be done soon. He thinks that cots in a large event hall in Utrecht can be a great disaster solution. He also believes that Ferd Grapperhaus, which is the demissionary minister who is talking about it, could have arranged that. โ€œThen we would have gone to Utrecht and at least we could have taken care of the people more spacious and hygienic.โ€

During a meeting with a number of mayors, Demissionary Minister Ferd Grapperhaus asked to arrange 800 shelters in the short term. That hasn‘t happened so far.

The national shelter has not responded yet. The demissionary secretary of state responsible is Ankie Broekers-Knol. She, too, hasn’t said anything about the shelter problem.