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May 24, 2022



Czech Interior Minister: Temporary shelter will be built so refugees do not have sleep in the hallways of the main train station in Prague

11.5.2022 15:37
Romani refugees from Ukraine at the Main Train Station in Prague, Czech Republic, May 2022. (PHOTO:  Lukáš Cirok)
Romani refugees from Ukraine at the Main Train Station in Prague, Czech Republic, May 2022. (PHOTO: Lukáš Cirok)

A temporary shelter including hygienic facilities will be created so refugees from Ukraine do not have to sleep in the corridors at the main railway station in Prague, Czech Republic, for lack of anywhere to go, Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (Mayors and Independents - STAN), tweeted this morning. He also said nonprofit organizations will be involved with the project.

Jakub Veinlich, spokesperson for the Interior Ministry, told the Czech News Agency (ČTK) that construction should start today and the tent city should serve about 150 people. "We will not be communicating its location," the spokesperson also said.

Prague reportedly no longer has accommodation capacities available for refugees arriving in the capital. Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) also tweeted this morning that while the city has been considering creating a "tent town" for the refugees, he warned the Government that he considers that to be the choice of last resort.

"The situation at the Prague main station is being resolved," the Interior Minister tweeted this morning. "We will not leave people to sleep in the corridors."

"A temporary shelter with all the facilities will be created," the minister said. "Nonprofit organizations will be involved."

"We are still negotiating with Hungary to accelerate the screening of the incoming refugees to the Czech Republic," the minister said. Many Romani refugees from Ukraine have dual Hungarian/Ukrainian citizenship, and as citizens of the EU Member State of Hungary, they are not entitled to refugee aid in the Czech Republic; what is more, the mayor also says there are no longer any accommodation capacities available in the capital.

"We have no place to put anybody else. Despite all our efforts, the situation at the main train station crosses the line in terms of care that is dignified," Mayor Hřib tweeted; already on Monday he had called on the Government to create a system that will make it possible to distribute refugees from Ukraine evenly into all regions of the country. 

Hřib told ČTK that if such redistribution does not happen, the capital is at risk of "collapse" and will have no choice but to close its center for refugees in the Vysočany quarter due to the overload. The capital is now dealing with the problem of the Romani refugees from Ukraine living in the main train station.

 According to civic initiatives, hundreds of people are living there in undignified conditions. There are 70 beds in the hall of the Fantova building provided by the Czech Railway Administration, and 210 more people are being allowed to sleep in a parked train. 

However, all of those capacities are frequently filled, leading to people sleeping in the corridors. The Prague City Hall has asked the Refugee Facilities Administration at the Interior Ministry to aid with providing housing.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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