Number of people staying at refugee centers halves on year

Vao Refugee Center, one of two such facilities in Estonia.
Vao Refugee Center, one of two such facilities in Estonia. Source: Anastasiya Krasnozhon

Twenty-eight people were staying in Estonia's two refugee centers at the beginning of this month, less than half the figure for this time last year.

Estonia has two such centers, at Vao, Lääne-Viru County and Vägeva, Jõgeva County.

Fifteen people were staying at Vao at the beginning of October, Jana Selesneva, the center's manager, said, all of whom are seeking asylum in Estonia. By nationality, Russian nationals were the largest group, she said.

The remaining 13 people were staying at Vägeva, 12 of whom were seeking asylum, together with one who has been granted international protection.

Again, Russian nationals made up the largest single nationality, the center said, with people from three other countries also staying at the center.

At the beginning of October 2019, 61 people were staying at the two centers, with nationalities represented including Syria, Turkey and Albania.

By the beginning of 2020 that number had fallen to 48, and by July 43.

Reasons for people leaving the centers, whose activities have included seasonal work such as mowing grass and harvesting vegetables, serving street food to the public, learning the Estonian language and attending events and excursions, were not reported, though in June one quota refugee family from Syria left the Vao center to go and live in Tartu.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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