Refugees evacuated from Dutch reception camp over unhygienic conditions

The Hague, Aug 27 (EFE).- Over 400 refugees were evacuated from a Dutch reception camp in Ter Apel Friday night after the Health Inspectorate flagged negligent health and hygiene conditions.

The Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA) said on Saturday that hundreds of refugees from the Ter Apel reception center had been transferred by bus to other places in Utrecht, Stadskanaal, Zuidbroek, Almere and Groningen.

The decision, which comes after weeks of complaints over the conditions in which asylum seekers were living in Ter Apel, came after the Health and Youth Care Inspectorate (IGJ) ordered an “immediate intervention” alleging there was a total lack of hygiene in the refugee center.

According to inspectors who visited the site on Friday, officials witnessed around 700 people crammed in the center garden and parking lot.

The inspectors reported refugees were living “in appalling conditions” and flagged concerns over “the lack of drinking water, clean toilets, showers, toilets and lodgings” which could encourage the spread of infectious diseases.

Following the site inspections the agency called for immediate improvements to the facilities, because “adequate water, sanitation and shelter are crucial.”

According to the COA, some asylum seekers did not agree to the transfer over fears they would miss their turn in the refugee registration procedure.

According to the Dutch agency ANP, up to 80 people chose to continue sleeping outdoors Friday night.

The Red Cross and Doctors Without Borders —which has deployed a team to the Netherlands for the first time— have been providing refugees with basic medical care and referring the most serious and chronic cases to hospitals.

In a visit to the reception center in Ter Apel, Efe verified the inhumane condition refugees endure and that NGOs have been denouncing for weeks.

Feces floating in an outdoor toilet, refugees living under make-shift tents and volunteers scrambling to heal wounds and infections with scant resources are just some of the inhumane conditions reported by volunteers working at the camp in Ter Apel, northern Netherlands.

“People are here in a situation that is not humane, it should not be like that, in any country but especially not in a European country like Holland,” spokeswoman for Doctors Without Borders, (MSF), Monique Nagelkerke, told Efe. EFE


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