The number of Ukrainian refugees coming to regional aid centers is significantly higher than politicians originally expected. In Prague alone, over 10,000 refugees were accommodated at Prague’s Congress Centre.
Volunteers and NGO’s are also experiencing a heavy burden in Ostrava and Olomouc, where they have begun to build new, larger centers.
According to Interior Minister Vít Rakušan, there are over 100,000 refugees in the Czech Republic already which predominantly include women, children and the elderly.
When Prague opened the regional assistance center in the Municipal Library on Tuesday, no one expected it to last only three days. After the first day, the space for refugees was already not enough and the much larger Congress Center in Vysehrad became a new place of help from Friday.
“About 1,200 refugees arrived by noon today,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib reported on Sunday afternoon, adding that Prague had handled over 10,000 refugees since Tuesday.
“The Congress Centre does not have enough staff to deal with the influx of people. I will have a call with the minister of the interior to divide refugees more evenly among assistance centres in individual regions.”
In addition, firefighters from Jablonec nad Nisou arrived in Prague on Saturday and transported five hundred refugees to Liberec.
Organizers urge refugees not to come to the center with their children. “Children under the age of 15 really don’t need to be brought here, it’s enough for their parents to come and have their papers,” he said.
As the largest number of refugees are heading to Prague and Central Bohemia, the Central Bohemian Region will open another center on Tuesday in Příbram after the ones in Kutná Hora and Mladá Boleslav.
Similarly, the regional center in Olomouc is not enough. On Tuesday, it started operating in the office building near the train station, and from next week it will offer its services to refugees in the larger Haná barracks. “On Monday night, we are moving our assistance center to help war-torn Ukrainians. This will increase the space capacity of the center,” said Governor Josef Suchánek.