An average of one hundred asylum seekers sleep in the tents in Stadskanaal every night, even in frost. ‘Heat cannons keep it nice and warm’

Even at temperatures of -5 with an icy easterly wind, asylum seekers are forced to sleep in tents in Stadskanaal. They are kept warm with the help of heat guns.

The shelter at the registration center in Ter Apel is still so busy that an average of a hundred asylum seekers are taken to Stadskanaal every night to sleep there. They spend the night in tents. According to the Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA), it is warm enough there even in moderate night frost, thanks to heat cannons.

The occupancy in Ter Apel – where a maximum of 2,000 people are allowed to stay according to the agreements between COA and the municipality of Westerwolde – fluctuates between 2,100 and 2,200 at the beginning of this year. Too many, and according to the COA, the numbers have also increased in recent days. what. There is no prospect yet of a structural decline in occupancy in Ter Apel.

Westerwolde to court

The summary proceedings brought by the municipality of Westerwolde against the COA will be heard on Wednesday because the administrative agreement has been violated time and time again. According to the COA, there is force majeure. Because new asylum seekers have to report in Ter Apel and there are insufficient asylum places in the rest of the country, the facility there is always full. Westerwolde wants to enforce in court that the COA no longer exceeds the 2000 limit now and in the future.

Emergency facility set up in Stadskanaal due to an untenable situation

The facility with heated tents in Stadskanaal opened at the beginning of December. In the weeks before, asylum seekers slept in the waiting rooms of the Immigration and Naturalization Service and recreation rooms of the COA. The GGD and the inspectorates ruled that this shelter was untenable due to poor hygiene and insufficient safety.

Asylum seekers who cannot spend the night in Ter Apel are taken to Stadskanaal in the evening. There they receive a hot meal, a bed and an opportunity to shower. Early in the morning they are given breakfast and taken back to Ter Apel. If there is room, they can go to the IND and/or immigration police for the procedure and then move on to reception elsewhere. If they are unlucky, they may have to spend several nights in Stadskanaal.

The shelter in Stadskanaal is open until February 1. The municipality of Borger-Odoorn has indicated that it wants to take over the facility afterwards.