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Netherlands To Close Refugee Camp

October 16, 1998

ERMELO, Netherlands (AP) _ A government-run tent camp housing asylum seekers will be dismantled after it provoked criticism that refugees were being held in inhumane conditions.

The camp housed about 80 people and was equipped with portable toilets and a single water tank. Earlier this week, rain on the night it opened flooded leaky tents and turned the site into muddy marshland.

The asylum seekers will be moved from Ermelo, 40 miles east of Amsterdam, to a better set of tents. Soldiers expect to finish a new camp near the eastern city of Nijmegen by Saturday.

Through September, more than 31,000 refugees had applied for permission to stay in the Netherlands, a 30 percent increase from a year ago. Some officials fear that number could swell to 50,000, creating a shortage of space in Europe’s most densely populated nation.

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