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Ukraine refugee reception centers to be opened in four cities

Refugees from Ukraine at a Polish border-crossing point.
Refugees from Ukraine at a Polish border-crossing point. Source: Kristjan Svirgsden / ERR

A war refugees reception point will, in addition to Tallinn, Rakvere and Tartu, be opened in Pärnu in the coming days. The reception centers will handle initial operations, including Covid testing, registration, ascertaining basic needs and organizing accommodation if necessary.

"The reception center opened in Tallinn set a good example of how to handle aid for people coming from Ukraine in a single location. Similar centers will be open in every region in the coming days that will hopefully take some of the load off the capital," said Kaisa Ürpus-Tali, head of the crisis headquarters of the Social Insurance Board.

People who arrive at the reception centers will be registered and their need for aid mapped. Local governments have helped create rest areas in reception centers, complete with a play area for kids, books and toys people can take with them, internet access, food etc. The Social Insurance Board is offering people psychosocial assistance and psychological first aid.

If the person does not have next of kin in Estonia and are unable to find accommodation independently, the board will direct them to a state accommodation establishment. "We started signing contracts with private sector accommodation providers all over Estonia to offer refugees a place to stay in the short term. We are in the final stages of signing these contracts today, aiming at 44 total contracts," Üprus-Tali said.

"Accommodation will be provided for a period of approximately one month after which the local government will take over, using the time to find more permanent lodgings for refugees. In the meantime, the Unemployment Insurance Fund will work with local employers to try and make sure people find their feet quickly. Psychosocial aid and crisis counseling will also be offered in state housing.

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Editor: Marcus Turovski

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