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July 6, 2022



Czech capital's "tent city" for refugees from Ukraine has seen 250 people pass through it so far

21.5.2022 17:13
Romani refugees from Ukraine in Prague's Troja neighborhood, May 2022 (PHOTO: HZS Prague)
Romani refugees from Ukraine in Prague's Troja neighborhood, May 2022 (PHOTO: HZS Prague)

The "tent city" for refugees from Ukraine in Prague's Troja neighborhood has seen 250 people pass through there in less than a week of operations; Vít Hofman, spokesperson for the City of Prague, informed the Czech News Agency of the numbers yesterday. The capacity of the center is 150 beds and it is intended especially for the Romani refugees from Ukraine who have been living at the main train station in the Czech capital. 

The refugees are meant to live in the Troja facility while the authorities decide whether they are eligible for temporary protection visas. Prague claims to be struggling with insufficient accommodation capacity and is negotiating with the Government and Regional Authorities about relocating refugees from Ukraine into regions that are not as busy. 

About 90 000 people have been handled by the assistance center in Prague's Vysočany quarter, which serves all of the Central Bohemian Region as well as the capital. "From the beginning, the tent city has been operating without any problems," Hofman said. 

"Its capacity is about 150 people, but the number of those accommodated fluctuates regularly. Some of those who were accommodated there have since been given visas, so that means their places go to new people," Hofman said.

The "tent city" was called for by Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (Mayors and Independents - STAN); last week, firefighters built 10 tents on a plot of land between the Městský okruh and Povltavská Street along with another 10 tents with facilities for the coordinators of the operation, a kitchen and dining room, and a children's corner. The first 16 refugees arrived there on Saturday 14 May just after noon. 

Last weekend there were 142 refugees from Ukraine there, including several families. The number of refugees housed there changes daily. 

Prague claims to be struggling with a big influx of refugees from Ukraine and a lack of space for them. Last week Mayor of Prague Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) called on the Government to create a nationwide mechanism for redistributing refugees among the regions. 

According to Hřib, there are four times more refugees from Ukraine per 1 000 inhabitants in Prague than in some other regions of the Czech Republic. The mayor threatened to close the assistance center in Prague if redistribution did not happen, but that has not yet occurred, and he has since announced that he certainly will not close it before the end of this month. 

The mayor has said that he will decide what to do next after evaluating the situation. The nonprofit organization Romodrom, which is participating in the organization of Prague's "tent city", has already advised the Interior Minister of a list of locations where places for longer-term accommodation of Romani refugees from Ukraine could be created; Rakušan has confirmed that he received that offer and will be dealing with it. 

The Russian invasion of Ukraine began on 24 February. The Czech Interior Ministry has issued 349 290 temporary protection visas to refugees from Ukraine so far, it has announced on Twitter. 

Almost two-fifths of Czech temporary protection visas have been given to children. Women make up 73 % of the adult refugees from Ukraine in the Czech Republic.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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