29th Sep 2022

Baby dies at Dutch emergency refugee shelter

  • Ter Apel is the largest asylum reception facility in the Netherlands and can house some 2,000 people (Photo: Directie Voorlichting)
Listen to article

Dutch authorities say they will investigate the death of a three-month old baby who died earlier this week at an emergency shelter for refugees.

"The baby died this morning in a sports hall that serves as emergency shelter for asylum seekers in Ter Apel, Westerwolde municipality," said Dutch government public health institution IGJ, in a statement on Wednesday (24 August).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

IGJ said the investigation will be carried out jointly with the Dutch justice and security inspectorate.

Aside from looking into the cause of the baby's death, the probe will also narrow in on living conditions around the application centre and the sports halls.

'Like Moria'

The death has further highlighted what aid agencies are describing as deplorable conditions of the country's main refugee reception facility at Ter Apel, which can house up to 2,000 people.

Emergency aid organisation Doctors Without Borders (MSF) on Thursday morning announced they would be providing medical care at the application centre.

It is the first time MSF offers medical assistance in the Netherlands.

"It is unprecedented that we will offer medical assistance in the Netherlands," said Judith Sargentini, MSF director for the Netherlands.

"But the circumstances in which these people find themselves are inhumane," she said.

MSF had visited the overcrowded facility last week and likened conditions to Moria, a ghetto-like camp that was torched on the Greek island of Lesbos in 2020.

The overcrowded conditions at Ter Apel has forced several hundred asylum seekers to sleep outside the facility, including pregnant women, children and people with chronic diseases.

MSF had visited the facility last week where they found people with skin diseases.

"There are no showers and toilets are not well maintained," it said.

The aid workers are demanding the Dutch federal and municipal authorities to immediately improve living conditions at the reception facility.

The Netherlands is grappling with a shortage of shelters, an issue that had been highlighted over the summer by the Dutch Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers (COA).

The COA in late July said it was sheltering over 43,000 people, some in temporary locations. It also said the demand for asylum reception was on the rise and that new shelters were needed.

Netherlands against more rights for rejected asylum-seekers

A leaked Council document provides a partial overview of member state positions on a new EU strategy on voluntary returns and reintegration. The Dutch are concerned any new legal framework on voluntary returns could lead to greater rights.

Asylum seeker stuck almost three years in Moria camp

Anny Nganga, an asylum seeker from DR Congo, has been surviving for almost three years in Moria, a camp on Lesbos island that was recently described as the "single most worrying fundamental rights issue anywhere in the European Union".

EU migration and asylum pact faces reality check

The EU wants to finalise the overhaul of the migration and asylum laws before the end of the current mandate in 2024. But big issues on solidarity remain unsolved, including in the European Parliament.

UN aid official : 'Don't forget women of Yemen'

Authorities in northern Yemen have been accused of 'Talibanisation' by a senior UN refugee agency official — following repressive restrictions on Yemeni female aid workers.


Could blockchain help EU process asylum claims?

Asylum proceedings are one of the biggest issues with the EU's migration policy, and digital identification through blockchain to register and track refugees would be an instrumental step towards the level of necessary reform.

News in Brief

  1. EU takes Malta to court over golden passports
  2. EU to ban Russian products worth €7bn a year more
  3. Denmark: CIA did not warn of Nord Stream attack
  4. Drone sightings in the North Sea 'occurred over months'
  5. Gazprom threatens to cut gas deliveries to Europe via Ukraine
  6. New compromise over EU energy emergency measures
  7. 15 states push for EU-wide gas price cap
  8. EU: Nord Stream explosions 'result of a deliberate act'

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. The European Association for Storage of EnergyRegister for the Energy Storage Global Conference, held in Brussels on 11-13 Oct.
  2. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  3. European Committee of the RegionsThe 20th edition of EURegionsWeek is ready to take off. Save your spot in Brussels.
  4. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  5. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  6. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries

Latest News

  1. Everything you need to know about the EU gas price cap plan
  2. Why northeast Italy traded in League for Brothers of Italy
  3. How US tech giants play EU states off against each other
  4. Deregulation of new GMO crops: science or business?
  5. The European shipping giants plying Putin's fossil-fuels trade
  6. Russian ideologue and caviar on latest EU blacklist
  7. Netherlands tops EU social safety net for the poor
  8. New EU rules to make companies liable for their AI failures

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us