Mayor ‘very angry’ about emergency asylum seekers: ‘The Netherlands leaves Ter Apel’

The group leaders of the municipality of Westewolde met this evening for a special meeting about the emergency situation in the asylum seekers’ center in Ter Apel. Mayor Jaap Velema calls the situation, where asylum seekers have to sleep on the floor because there is no place left, unacceptable. He wants help from The Hague.

Last week, asylum seekers had to sleep on chairs and stretchers because the influx was bigger than the center could handle.

Velema is very concerned about the situation. “Last week we were in the situation where 600 people eventually slept in the shelter. While normally 100 people can stay, with an extension to 250,” he says in news hour. “In addition, 150 people also slept in the offices and waiting areas of the IND.”

The problem has arisen because the number of people reporting to the center has risen very suddenly. It causes great crowds. “You come in, report to the IND and then go through the health check. Then you go to the night shelter, the next day you come to the asylum seekers center. If such a process gets stuck because too many people come or because it goes wrong, you get a build-up in the night shelter.”

According to Velema, this is not only serious for the people who are being cared for, but also for the employees and security. “It’s an unacceptable situation.”

The Hague points to COA

COA says it will arrange thousands of extra places, but only from November. Mayor Velema has contacted The Hague for more help. According to him, they respond with “understanding”, but then again with a reference to the COA. State Secretary Broekers-Knol indicated on Tuesday that 3000 places will be added from November.

These asylum seekers tell Nieuwsuur that it is still very busy:

‘Then they kicked us out, we had to leave’

news hour has asked State Secretary Ankie Broekers-Knol of Asylum Affairs for clarification, but she again refers to the COA. “And they do not want to speak to us further,” says political reporter Arjan Noorlander.

Broekers-Knol says once again that 3000 places will be added in various barracks from 1 November. “There is no guarantee,” says Noorlander. “It is a quest, also here in The Hague, to find a way out, because the entire asylum chain is stuck. There are people in shelters for whom there are no houses in the Netherlands. There are people who have already heard that they have to leave the country, but who do not go or cannot leave.”

Mayors are not jumping

Broekers-Knol hopes that municipalities elsewhere in the country will help to receive asylum seekers. “But many mayors are not keen on that,” says Noorlander. “They know that it leads to tensions and political hassle. So there is great restraint.”

Cautious sounds are heard from, among others, the Rijnmond region to help. “Rotterdam wants to make available a boat that was used last year to shelter homeless people. That boat can accommodate ninety people. Those are not the large numbers needed to quickly solve this problem,” says Noorlander.

Broekers-Knol will speak to the other regions tomorrow, but does not guarantee that they will actually help with the reception.

But this task is beyond Westerwolde.

Jaap Velema, mayor Oosterwolde

Mayor Velema is not only concerned, but also “very, very angry” about the attitude of politicians in The Hague. They have to come up with a solution, says Velema.

He calls the re-placement of tents, as it was a few years ago, unacceptable. “We are not going to do that again. No tents will be added. We experienced that in 2015 and 2016. There was then a certain willingness in the Netherlands to make something of it together. And now Ter Apel is left alone.”

Velema says that the asylum seekers who now find it difficult to get a place to sleep will not be abandoned by the Westerwolde municipality. “But this task is beyond Westerwolde.”


The mayor is concerned about what he describes as “a group of hooligans”. By this he means asylum seekers from countries that are considered safe, and in principle have no chance of a residence permit.

“They come from Algeria and Morocco and lead a nomadic life through Europe. They use this situation to see if they can get bed, bath and bread. And maybe asylum. Ter Apel is not intended for that and The Hague must help us to be a normal AZC again.”

Mayor ‘very angry’ about emergency asylum seekers: ‘The Netherlands leaves Ter Apel’
Source link Mayor ‘very angry’ about emergency asylum seekers: ‘The Netherlands leaves Ter Apel’

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