Mushroom: Prague reopens refugee center, government decision is wrong
Updates: 06/30/2022 19:14
Released: 30.06.2022, 19:14
Prague – On Monday, July 11, Prague reopens the regional center for refugees from Ukraine, which it has closed due to the large number of refugees in the capital. After today’s meeting of the Prague Crisis Staff, Mayor Zdeněk Hřib (Pirates) told reporters that the step was based on a government decision. However, according to him, the city does not have accommodation capacity, so the center will provide Ukrainians only with emergency overnight stays in tent camps and provide state beds.
Prague closed the center in Vysočany in mid-June, Hřib justified at the time by the fact that there are too many refugees in the metropolis and the city no longer has accommodation for them. Negotiations followed with the government on the requirement to establish a clear mechanism for placing refugees throughout the country.
However, according to Hřiba, the government decided on Wednesday that all regional centers should remain in operation. He called the decision bad, but the city will adapt. “From my point of view, this is a wrong decision, because it does not deal with the situation at all, that in Prague there are up to four times more refugees per capita than in some other regions,” he said.
He added that before the center opens, it is necessary to secure volunteers on whom the operation depends. Therefore, the facility will not open until Monday, July 11, with opening hours from Monday to Thursday between 08:00 and 15:00 on Friday from 08:00 to 14:00. At the same time, the center will not offer Ukrainians accommodation with instruction in new tent towns and capacities provided by the Administration of Refugee Facilities. “It could be summed up by opening from the 11th without accommodation,” said the mayor.
He added that the city now has problems is accommodating already present Ukrainians, because, for example, one hotel that accommodated them, terminated the municipality’s contract. “Now we are dealing with more than 200 people, for whom we have to provide accommodation elsewhere,” he said. He added that from his point of view, the government is not solving the required relocation mechanism with sufficient priority and its procedure should be reversed – first to create it and only then to address assistance centers. “It’s a business card of Petr Fiala’s government,” he added.
In the four months of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the Czech Republic issued almost 375,000 temporary protection visas to refugees. In Prague it was about 89,000. Interior Minister Vít Rakušan (STAN) said on Wednesday that the system of regional centers will work at least as well as before. During the month, the government wants to evaluate how to possibly change the reception and assistance of refugees at the regional level.