Dutch authorities said on Saturday they transferred hundreds of migrants and refugees from a makeshift camp outside a crowded asylum seekers’ center.
A spokesman for the state housing for migrants said the refugees were moved overnight from the facility, near the northern city of Groningen, to other locations in the Netherlands.
The day before, about 150 people were taken to two sports halls in a central city.
Migrants slept badly for weeks
The move follows a damning report that the site, in the village of Ter Apel near the German border, posed a health hazard.
More than 700 asylum seekers slept outside the center, many for almost three weeks.
Aid agencies and the country’s health auditor complained about the risk of infectious diseases in the makeshift camp due to a “total lack of hygiene.”
Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte said he was “ashamed” of the overcrowding and Friday evening his government released a series of measures to alleviate a wider crisis in refugee shelters.
The government said it is working with local municipalities to create more homes for people allowed to stay in the country, freeing up space for newcomers.
More than 700 asylum seekers camped for several nights near the shelter for refugees Ter Apel
Arrival of migrants restricted
The new measures will temporarily limit the arrival of migrants to the country, including those agreed under a 2016 European Union agreement with Turkey.
Visas for family members of people who do not have housing in the Netherlands will also expire.
Dutch military personnel have been ordered to realize a second registration facility for asylum seekers at a military base.
The government has set a September 10 TSTIME for all refugees to live in proper shelters.
However, at a press conference, Rutte said that the overpopulation “cannot be solved in a few weeks or months”.
He blamed a 2015 decision to reduce asylum capacity and a national housing shortage that exacerbated the problem.
Dozens refuse to leave place in line
While most refugees who had to camp have now left Ter Apel, Dutch newspapers reported on Saturday that dozens of men stayed behind for fear of losing their place in line.
Many Dutch cities have given shelter to Ukrainians who have fled the war in their country.
But the positive reception for refugees from other countries has been eroded.
Most of the people who go to Ter Apel for processing are Syrians fleeing their country’s protracted civil war.
Refugee advocates drew comparisons to overcrowded camps in Greece and Italy housing migrants and refugees who have just landed on European soil.
This week, the charity Doctors Without Borders sent a medical team to Ter Apel, the first deployment to the Netherlands.
Their arrival followed the death of a 3-month-old baby at the shelter, raising international concern.
According to the Dutch authorities, the baby died of unknown causes in a sports hall used as a makeshift shelter for newcomers who had nowhere else to sleep.
mm/kb (TSTIME, TSTIME, dpa, Reuters)