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May 24, 2022



Nikola Taragoš: Some Romani refugees from Ukraine will move into the Czech capital's "tent city" either this evening or tomorrow morning

12.5.2022 17:16
The "tent city" for Romani refugees from Ukraine in Prague's Troja neighborhood. (2022)

The first refugees from Ukraine could begin moving into the "tent city" in Prague-Troja either today or no later than tomorrow. Nikola Taragoš, director of the Romodrom organization, which participates in the operation of the "tent city", informed the Czech News Agency (ČTK) of the timeline today. 

The decision on the date of the move was to have been made this afternoon during the meeting of the Prague Crisis Staff. The tents are supposed to lighten the load at the main train station in Prague where, according to civic initiatives, hundreds of refugees, mostly of Romani origin, have been living in undignified conditions.

Firefighters built the refugees' tents last night and connected them to utilities networks this morning. Martin Kavka, spokesperson for the firefighters in Prague, told ČTK after noon today that all of the installation has been completed and the "tent city" can start functioning today. 

Kavka said City Hall would now take over the premises. The Refugee Facilities Administration should also participate in its operations.

"Now there will be a consultation of the Crisis Staff which will decide when exactly the first users of the tent city will arrive. The estimate is that it could be today, at the latest tomorrow," Taragoš told ČTK. 

The Romodrom director said he expected somebody would be presented at the Crisis Staff meeting to direct operations on the spot. "We as nonprofit organizations and other participants should take care of working with those people," he added. 

In addition to the municipality and the Refugee Facilities Administration, representatives of the Red Cross and RomPraha could also operate in the facility, according to Taragoš. There are beds for 150 people in 10 tents pitched on the plot between Městský okruh and Povltavská Street; the "tent city" also has its own dining room, showers and toilets.

Geti Mubeenová from the Organization for Aid to Refugees: 150 beds are not enough relief

According to Geti Mubeenová of the Organization for Aid to Refugees (OPU), which operates at the train station, the "tent city" will not resolve the situation. "In no way does 150 beds relieve us," she told ČTK. 

The construction of the "tent city" is also not considered a happy solution by Taragoš. According to Mubeenová, legal and social services for refugees are missing from the plan. 

The OPU representative said it is not even clear how the refugees will be chosen to move into the "tent city". She said she expects more to be clear after the Crisis Staff meeting.

ČTK, Zdeněk Ryšavý, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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