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May 24, 2022



Mayor of Prague says if the Czech state does not systematize the distribution of refugees it will close its aid center, tent city supposedly being built

11.5.2022 14:50
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)

The Czech Government must create a system and start distributing refugees from Ukraine evenly into all regions of the country. Otherwise, the capital is at risk of collapse and will have to close its center for refugees due to overload. 

Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) informed the Czech News Agency (ČTK) of the problem this morning. He said he has sent a letter to Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala (Civic Democratic Party - ODS) calling on him to resolve the situation. 

The center for refugees in Prague's Vysočany quarter has been serving for the entire Central Bohemian Region as well as for the metropolis since the beginning of the Russian invasion at the end of February and has handled 84 219 refugees so far. "There was data presented today at the meeting with the Regional Governors that clearly shows the capacity of the capital and how it is carrying far more weight than the other regions. Without a functional mechanism to redistribute the persons fleeing the Ukraine war into other regions, we will have to close the Regional Assistance Center in Prague," the mayor told ČTK yesterday. 

According to the mayor, the metropolis is not renouncing its responsibility, because since the beginning of the war it has been doing its best for the refugees from Ukraine. Czech Interior Minister Vít Rakušán was meant to begin resolving the situation at the main train station in collaboration with Hřib today. 

To avoid people having to spend the night in the corridors of the station, tents with full hygienic facilities should start being pitched today with a capacity of 150 people. The mayor said accommodation capacity in the capital is close to the critical "red" level, indicating that the capacity of the infrastructure is absolutely disproportionate to the number of refugees.

The situation is not so serious in other regions, although there are variations among them. The Czech capital is currently trying to solve the problem of Romani refugees from Ukraine living at the main train station because they have no other choice.

Hundreds of such people are living there in conditions that are undignified. There are 70 beds in the hall of the Fantova building, which was provided by the Czech Railway Administration, and up to 210 more people can sleep on the fixed seats of a parked train.

All of those capacities are frequently filled. The municipality has therefore asked the Refugee Facilities Administration for aid because the city does not have enough accommodation capacities for the refugees.

There are also problems in the schools where, due to a lack of places, children from Ukraine may not be incorporated into classes with their Czech peers. The mayor is therefore asking to change the legislation and enable the emergence of what are called "modular schools" to solve the problem of not enough available space.

ČTK, ryz, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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