Czech capital's "tent city" receives first Romani refugees from Ukraine
The "tent city" in Prague's Troja neighborhood began operations today for refugees from Ukraine. The first bus of 16 people left the assistance center in the Vysočany quarter for Troja just after noon today.
City spokesperson Vít Hofman gave that information after being asked for it by the Czech News Agency (ČTK) today. The "tent city" was erected by firefighters Thursday night and has beds for 150 people.
The facility is especially intended for the refugees who are now stuck at the main train station in Prague. They should stay in Troja while authorities decide whether they are entitled to temporary protection visas.
How much of the "tent city" capacity will be used to accommodate refugees today is not yet clear. According to the spokesperson, that will depend on the capacity of the firefighters who transport them to Troja.
"We are expecting to gradually bring in the refugees. So far we plan to begin operations at about two-thirds capacity for one or two days to process everybody. We are counting on full operations as of Monday," said Romodrom director Nikola Taragoš.
According to civic initiatives, hundreds of refugees, mostly of Romani origin, have been living in conditions at the main train station that are undignified. They are waiting for the authorities to check whether they are dual citizens of Hungary and Ukraine.
If so, they are not entitled to temporary protection in the Czech Republic. However, the authorities have not yet published how many such cases there are.
Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (Mayors and Independents - STAN) called for the establishment of the "tent city". On the plot of land between the Městský okruh and Povltavská Street, firefighters pitched 10 tents in which people will be accommodated and another 10 tents where there will be a base for the coordinators of operations, a children's corner, and a dining room and kitchen.
"The tent city serves simply as another waiting room for the Regional Assistance Center for Aid to Ukraine (KACPU), and therefore people will only reach it through the assistance center," Hofman said. According to him, it will not be possible for individuals to access the facility on their own.
The spokesperson did not say how the refugees will be selected to stay in the "tent city". According to civic initiatives, there are hundreds of refugees stuck at the main train station.
Local and state police patrols will be reinforced to supervise security around the "tent city" at Troja. The hours of operation are from 06:00 to 22:00, at which point no more arrivals or departures will happen until the next day.
Lines of sight into the facility have been blocked. The firefighters have not just fenced it, but installed a foil that is opaque around its entire perimeter, as a ČTK reporter discovered at the site.
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