THE HAGUE, NETHERLANDS (AP) – Authorities transferred some 400 asylum-seekers away from a makeshift camp outside an overcrowded migrant reception centre in the northeastern Netherlands after a damning report called the site where hundreds of people were sleeping rough a health hazard.
Spokesman for the government’s asylum-seeker accommodation organisation Leon Veldt said yesterday 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 three-month-old baby died this week in a sports hall at the Ter Apel centre, 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.