Assistance centers for Ukrainian refugees opening in Prague and throughout Czechia

People arriving from Ukraine need to go through a registration process, and will be provided with housing and other aid.

Raymond Johnston

Written by Raymond Johnston Published on 01.03.2022 12:22:00 (updated on 01.03.2022) Reading time: 4 minutes

Assistance centers are being set up in all Czech regions to help Ukrainian refugees coming to the Czech Republic. The centers will help with accommodation, logistics, humanitarian aid, and transport.

A National Assistance Center for Ukraine has also been set up, with representatives from the fire brigade, police, and accommodation facilities. In Prague, the city has opened an assistance center at the main building of the Municipal Library and set up information stands at Hlavní nádraží and the Florenc bus station.

“The purpose of the National Assistance Center for Ukraine is communication with local governments at the regional level. We have agreed with the governors that assistance centers for Ukraine will be established in all Czech regions. These should address the most important issues: accommodation, logistics, humanitarian aid, and transport,” Interior Minister Vít Rakušan said after yesterday’s meeting of the Central Crisis Staff.

One "entry gate" for arriving Ukrainian refugees is already in place at Vyšní Lhoty in the Moravian-Silesia region. People arriving in the Czech Republic will go through several registration procedures providing health and safety screenings. České Budějovice will have a station at its airport and Brno at its BVV exhibition center.

The Czech Fire and Rescue Service constructed the entry gate in Vyšní Lhoty on Feb. 26 and posted pictures of the work on social media.

“If a person goes through this ‘hotspot,’ they have all the necessary entry administration behind them and then receive transport to accommodation, unless they already have it settled independently,” Rakušan said.

Incoming refugees must register with the Foreign Police within three days of arrival. Rakušan said he hopes that these entry gates will speed up the registration. After that, people have 90 days submit a visa application. So far, the visa available is a national visa, valid for one year. EU interior ministers on Thursday are expected to activate a temporary protection directive in Brussels, which would apply across Europe.

2,000 humanitarian visas have been issued for Ukrainians since the start of the Russian aggression. Rakušan said that thousands more people have certainly already arrived in the Czech Republic.

In agreement with mobile operators, an SMS message with basic contacts and information should automatically be sent to everyone who comes to the Czech Republic with a Ukrainian SIM card.

A new website www.nasiukrajinci.cz has been launched, through which those interested in providing humanitarian aid will be redirected to appropriate platforms. It will also offer information to Ukrainians in the Czech Republic.

The Interior Ministry previously prepared a four-tier plan to help refugees from Ukraine according to aid intensity and the number of arrivals. Last week, the government launched the second of four stages. It currently counts on securing aid and accommodation for 5,000 people. According to estimates, CZK 1.5 billion could be needed for this support and security.

In Prague, information stands have opened in Prague’s at main railway station Hlavní nádraží and the Florenc bus station to help Ukrainian refugees when they arrive. The stands will operate from 10 am to 10 pm, but hours will be extended if necessary.

The information stands will provide Ukrainians with information about how to find their way around Prague and where to turn in case of need. Information leaflets in Ukrainian will provide refugees with contacts to the Interior Ministry, Caritas ČR, Integration Center Prague, and the Ukrainian Embassy.

The leaflets will also tell Ukrainians some of the information that they would receive at the hotspots, such as the need to register with the Foreign Police and to obtain health insurance.

The city and the Central Bohemia Region have meanwhile opened an assistance center at the Municipal Library on Prague's Mariánské náměstí to provide refugees with more services. The center will help Ukrainians secure accommodation and social services. The center’s staff will include representatives of the integrated rescue system and also insurance companies and other institutions.

“People will get all the help they need here – such as accommodation, the necessary documents, a telephone connection home, psychological support, free public transport and, last but not least, health care,” Prague Deputy Mayor Petr Hlubuček, responsible for security, said.

The city is also working to coordinate with individual city districts. “The cornerstone of successfully managing the current situation is effective communication and coordination of the municipality with more than 50 Prague city districts. Sixteen city districts and 263 individuals have already reported accommodation options for people who have left Ukraine and are fleeing to Prague via an online form launched by Prague on Friday,” Prague Mayor Zdeněk Hřib said.

The public can offer accommodation through a special form.

Prague City Hall has set up a web page (in Czech) that brings together all of the municipal news concerning refugees from Ukraine. The Czech Ministry of Interior has also set up a web page with information for Ukrainian citizens.  

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