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September 29, 2022



Czech region asks Central Crisis Team to build refugee camp at the border, Romani children and women who are refugees from Ukraine evicted from private accommodation into refugee facilities

5.6.2022 10:11
Refugees from Ukraine in front of the Regional Assistance Center for Aid to Ukraine in Prague. (2022) (PHOTO: Lukáš Cirok)
Refugees from Ukraine in front of the Regional Assistance Center for Aid to Ukraine in Prague. (2022) (PHOTO: Lukáš Cirok)

In the Czech Republic, the Plzeň Regional Authority has evicted 108 Romani refugees from Ukraine who were living in a privately-owned residential hotel in Strašice (Rokycany district). The authority also wants to build a refugee camp in Nové Domky near Rozvadov (Tachov district). 

According to Regional Governor Rudolf Špoták (Pirates), the number of Romani refugees from Ukraine is beginning to increase and their vetting, which used to last between 24 to 48 hours, now takes three to four days. "They were Romani people from Ukraine. They were screened yesterday and their registration and accommodation eligibility was verified. It turned out that 34 of them were entitled to accommodation, and they were transferred to Nové Domky near Rozvadov, where there is alternative accommodation provided by the Regional Authority," spokesperson Helena Frintová said on Thursday about the transfer of the Romani refugees from Strašice.

Another 74 Romani refugees from Strašice were transported to Prague, where they were received by people from the Romodrom organization and other Romani nonprofit organizations and were then directed to the refugee facilities in Bělá-Jezová and Vyšní Lhoty. "Some people said yesterday that they would return [to the refugee facilities], because otherwise they would lose their rights to the benefit of CZK 5 000 [EUR 200] and to accommodation," Frintová said. 

The Romani refugees were told that benefits can only be claimed if they moved into the refugee facilities. "None of them remained in Strašice," Frintová said.

According to Frintová, the residential hotel in Strašice did not have and did not want to have a contract with the Regional Authority, and the costs of housing the Romani refugees from Ukraine there were being covered by the owner. The Plzeň Regional Authority will also ask the Central Crisis Staff to set up a refugee camp for Romani refugees from Ukraine in Nové Domky near Rozvadov (Tachov district). 

"We will file a request with the Education Ministry, because the former school in Nové Domky and the adjacent land are theirs. We want them to allow us to use the space," said Regional Governor Špoták.

The Czech News Agency reports that the Plzeň Regional Authority's requests state that it needs to "increase the accommodation capacity for refugees from a specific, vulnerable group due to their different socio-cultural origins". The requests also state that the Regional Authority wants to use the land adjacent to the building of the former educational institution, which once was an orphanage with a primary school run by the Education Ministry.

The refugee camp offering emergency shelter that is temporary will have a capacity of about 100 places, while another 50 beds will be set up in the neighboring brick school building, where 34 Romani refugees from Ukraine were already transported by the Regional Authority on Wednesday from Strašice.

According to Špoták, the camp in Nové Domky would probably have to be built by firefighters and the State Material Reserves Administration would provide equipment and tents. "The brick building next door would also work, but it's only for 52 people, and we need to have a reserve," said the Regional Governor. 

In recent days up to 20 Romani refugees from Ukraine had entered the Plzeň Region every day and their vetting had been settled within two days, which was manageable. "However, now [vetting] takes four days, so if 20 people come every day, then there are 80 of them here at once," said Špoták. 

In addition to the fact that the numbers of these refugees are rising, the Plzeň Regional Authority also wants to be prepared for the fact that Prague could close its Regional Assistance Center for Aid to Ukraine in mid-June, as planned by Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates). If a refugee camp opens at Nové Domky, firefighters and police would transport refugees there twice a day. 

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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