After three weeks of crisis accommodation in Waalre, 225 asylum seekers from Ter Apel are now staying in two sports centres in Best and Heeze. About twenty civil servants in Best rolled up their sleeves to get everything ready for the arrival of the refugees.
“Many colleagues are on holiday, but you can still see that people are enthusiastic and want to work on this,” says Bart Verhoeven, civil servant in Best and coordinator of the opened crisis centre in the village. The past few weeks, he and his colleagues have made everything ready for 125 asylum seekers who came from Ter Apel asylum seeker reception centre. The application centre there is overcrowded, so Best offered to help out temporarily.
From prayer room to playground
A lot needs to be thought of: from lockers, wifi, prayer rooms and a play area for children to an emergency room and separate sleeping areas for families and singles.
According to the municipality, many things and personnel have been moved with them from Waalre, such as catering, cleaning and security. This should give the refugees a more familiar feeling. “The security guards are known to the refugees. They also often speak Arabic. This way they can be addressed directly”, says Mayor Hans Ubachs.
“After three weeks other municipalities in the region must be ready to take over the reception.”
– Hans Ubachs, Mayor of Best
The asylum seekers will have to get used to moving from place to place in a short period of time. “It is not humane to keep dragging people around. I would rather not see that. But at least it is better than having to lie in the bushes in Ter Apel,” explains Ubachs. As far as he is concerned, the reception centre in Best should remain a temporary reception centre for three weeks. “We freed up official capacity for this. After that, other municipalities in the region must be ready to take over the reception.”
In the near future, the mayor wants to go door-to-door to people living in the neighbourhood himself, together with his colleagues, to see if everything is going well. He is confident that everything will go well. “I have spoken to many people. There is no sentiment here in Best that the refugees can’t come. On the contrary, there is a lot of understanding that it is necessary.”
In Waalre, two of the 225 asylum seekers were sent back to Ter Apel after misbehaviour. In Heeze, 100 asylum seekers are staying as of now.