Many empty beds in Dutch refugee centersPOSTED: 08/30/16 8:51 AM
THE HAGUE – Nearly 40 percent of the beds in Dutch refugee centers and emergency shelters are empty, broadcaster RTL news reported this weekend. The number of new asylum seekers arriving in the country has more than halved compared to a year ago, leaving thousands of places that were set up to cope with the surge in numbers empty. Last month, 2,260 refugees came to the Netherlands, compared with 4,789 in July 2015. The refugee settlement agency COA currently has places for 53,676 refugees, but just 32,900 are taken. That means almost 20,000 beds, or 37% of the total, are empty.
A bed costs an average of €12 a day, so the empty beds are running up a bill of nearly €240,000 a day, RTL news said. Neither the COA or justice ministry would comment on the vacancy rate. However, there is a top level meeting on September 8 to discuss how to cope with the shift in numbers, the broadcaster said. At the end of July the COA said it is closing fifteen emergency locations in the next few weeks because of a falling number of new arrivals. The organization is also shedding temporary staff and putting plans for new settlement centers on ice, director Gerard Bakker told the Telegraaf.