Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte has vowed to improve living conditions in reception centers
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said on Friday that he was “ashamed” of living conditions in the overcrowded Ter Apel asylum-seeker processing center, and promised to resolve the problem with handling new arrivals.Global humanitarian group Doctors Without Borders (MSF) previously released a scathing report on the Ter Apel center, urging the authorities to create more migrant reception sites. Leon Veldt, the spokesman for the Dutch government’s refugee organization (COA), told AFP on Saturday that “several hundred” migrants were bussed out of Ter Apel and taken to other reception centers across the country.“We hope to slowly normalize the situation at Ter Apel,” Veldt said.In a statement on Thursday, MSF said around 700 people, including children and pregnant women, had been forced to sleep outside the center, which was “completely overwhelmed and unable to meet the most basic needs of new arrivals.” The global humanitarian group described the living conditions at Ter Apel as “inhumane and undignified.”
The report came out after a three-month-old baby died in a sports hall that was being used to house asylum seekers.Dutch Poverty Minister Carola Schouten said she was “shocked” by the report and vowed to fix the situation.“I think that everyone in the Netherlands thinks it’s terrible that MSF feels obliged to jump in at Ter Apel,” Rutte told reporters, adding that the problems at the center were “not something that can be solved in a few weeks or months.” Rutte promised that his government would focus on a “structural solution” to handle the inflow of asylum seekers. He said that a 2015 decision to reduce asylum capacity and a housing shortage had exacerbated the problem.
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