Cold drives homeless indoors in Dutch capital

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Homeless people in Amsterdam have been ordered to sleep indoors during the current cold spell.

Mayor Eberhard van der Laan issued an emergency order which comes into force on Tuesday evening, as overnight temperatures continue to be around 8 degrees below freezing. The ruling will be effective until 5 December when a change to milder weather is expected.

If police find homeless people in the streets during the night, they will be taken to temporary shelter. Several centres said beds would be available to cater for the extra influx. The average number of people seeking overnight shelter is 150 per day, but on Monday night another 224 homeless sought refuge in the centres.

Local authorities in the Dutch capital told reporters that they want to protect vulnerable people who are unable to look after themselves, and prevent them from getting hypothermia or other health problems which could prove lethal.

© Radio Netherlands Worldwide

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