Ukrainian refugees are coming to the Czech Republic, and you can help

The Ukrainian Embassy in Prague requests material aid as well as offers for transport and housing to support refugees in the Czech Republic. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 27.02.2022 09:54:00 (updated on 01.03.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

UPDATE: From Sunday, Feb. 27 a new website has launched that streamlines crucial information for Ukrainian refugees and their local supporters all in one place. The online platform (Stand With Ukraine) offers both "How to Help" and "Looking for Help" categories, the latter of which is translated into Ukrainian.

The site will also feature an updated overview of protests and other events important taking place throughout the Czech Republic. While the Stand With Ukraine site is aimed at organizations and institutions, a second platform (Help Ukraine) connects individuals who need help with people offering help and vice versa.

This weekend saw the first refugees from the conflict in Ukraine arrive in the Czech Republic. While only a handful have already arrived, the country expects many more and both the government and its citizens are doing what they can to help out.

On Saturday, a Czech Railways train carrying a small number of Ukrainian women and children arrived to the Czech Republic from the town of Przemyśl on the Polish-Ukranian border. Czech Railways dispatched two trains to the town, and agreed to leave the second in Poland to help transport refugees within the country.

The Interior Ministry estimates that up to 2,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled to the Czech Republic so far. Real figures are difficult to estimate because only a few hundred of them have gone through the official lodging and aid request channels set up by the government, Interior Minister Vít Rakušan told Czech Television Saturday.

Rakušan said that the Czech government is ready to offer 5,000 places for lodging, and further spots are being negotiated with regional authorities.

"We do not have a maximum, we will not limit how many [refugees] we will accept," he said, adding that his ministry has been trying to coordinate its efforts with various Czech regions, as many regions and cities want to help.

An information system detailing offers for lodging, transport, and humanitarian aid should be launched by the Interior Ministry on Sunday.

Rakušan described the situation at the Slovak-Ukrainian border as chaotic. Slovakia is reporting that many people willing to help at the border, but there is no central point to hand over humanitarian aid.

While there has been an outpouring of support from volunteers in the Czech Republic, the Ukrainian Embassy in Prague reports that the offer currently exceeds demands.

At the moment, the Embassy is requesting financial and material aid to support refugees. Items such as analgesic and anti-inflammatory drugs, bandages, splints, braces, tourniquets, sleeping bags, warm blankets, personal hygiene kits, batteries, tents, and raincoats are requested.

Material aid in support of refugees to be taken to the Ukrainian border can be donated at two locations, at the Prague House of National Minorities at Vocelova 3, Prague 2 (call 777 686 240), and at the Church of Our Lady of Sorrows on Štrossova street in Pardubice (call 777 904 901).

The Ukrainian Embassy has also released a website where people in the Czech Republic may register their lodging and transport offers.

Drivers who can assist in bringing refugees from the Ukrainian borders with Poland or Slovakia to the Czech Republic are asked to submit their availability at the Drive for Refugees website. Please also note if you have a car seat to transport small children.

As for accommodation, those willing to provide housing for refugees are asked to submit details at the Shelter for Ukraine website. An additional website containing offers from the Czech Ministry of the Interior should be published later on Sunday.

Financial donations to support both Ukraine and refugees in the Czech Republic can be submitted to local charities through the Darujme platform.

For additional up-to-date needs, you can also connect with the Facebook groups Protection of Ukrainians in the Czech Republic and UA/CZ Assistance.

More information can be obtained from the Ukrainian Embassy in Prague (227 020 212) or the Consulate of Ukraine in Brno (541 216 973).

The Embassy also notes that phone calls placed from the Czech Republic to Ukraine are currently offered free-of-charge by Czech operators Vodafone and T-Mobile.

And Ukrainian refugees do not need to apply for Czech health insurance. Free medical care will be provided by state-run hospitals.

For about five years, the Czech Republic has had a visa-free travel for Ukrainian citizens under certain conditions. Those with biometric passports can come to the Czech Republic without needing to apply for a visa for up to 90 days. On Friday, Rakušan stressed that now the Czech Republic will now recognize all passports from Ukrainian citizens.

After arriving in the Czech Republic, Ukrainian citizens can also apply for a four-month residence permit. Filing this application will allow them to work in the Czech Republic without having to wait for a work permit.

For more information for Ukrainian citizens coming to the Czech Republic, consult the website of the Czech Ministry of the Interior.

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