Netherlands investigates infant's death at overcrowded asylum seeker centre

Netherlands investigates infant's death at overcrowded asylum seeker centre
A three-month-old baby died at an overcrowded registration location for asylum seeker in the Netherlands, prompting the Dutch authorities to investigate.
1 min read
The Ter Apel centre has been struggling with the vast number of asylum seekers [Getty]

Dutch authorities are investigating the death of a 3-month-old baby at the country's overcrowded main registration location for asylum seekers, the government's Central Agency for the Reception of Asylum Seekers said on Thursday.

More than 700 asylum seekers have been sleeping outdoors at the location at Ter Apel in the northeast province of Groningen in the past few days. Conditions in the shelter have already prompted a lawsuit against the Dutch state. 

The baby died from "unknown causes" in a sports gymnasium being used as a makeshift shelter for newcomers with nowhere else to sleep, Leon Veldt, a spokesman for the agency, told Reuters.

Conditions at the main reception centre have prompted the Dutch branch of international aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) to offer aid, the first time it has needed to in the Netherlands, the organisation said on Thursday.

The Dutch Council for Refugees, which has filed a suit against the government, says conditions in the centre are "inhumane" and violate European law.

The council's suit, which is due to be heard on 15 September, demands improved conditions by 1 October, including access to clean water, showers, privacy, adequate food and healthcare.