PPA: 20,000 refugees have arrived in Estonia so far

The reception center in Kajamaja.
The reception center in Kajamaja. Source: Patrik Tamm / ERR

Twenty-thousand displaced people from Ukraine have arrived in Estonia since Russia launched its attack on the country two weeks ago.

Between February 27 and March 13 (Sunday), 19,775 Ukrainians have arrived in Estonia, data from the Police and Board Guard (PPA) shows, and a third of them have been children.

Of the total, 5,088 were in transit and will not stay in Estonia.

Speaking about people who arrived on Sunday, Ilmar Kahro, spokesman for the PPA, said there were 1,971 arrivals, including 770 children. Of these, 580 people were in transit.

"Most of the war refugees have found accommodation with their relatives or acquaintances. For those who do not have the opportunity, the state and local governments will find temporary accommodation," Kahro said.

Initially, Estonian officials said the country could only manage to take 2,000 refugees. This was then raised to 10,000 last week. Officials believe the number could rise to 30,000.

NGOs have called for a coordination plan from the government as local authorities struggle to cope with the number of arrivals.

As Estonia has a population of 1.3 million, the number of new arrivals is already more than 1 percent of the population.

Many refugees are brought to Estonia by private individuals and NGOs and there is no central organization. Last week the PPA introduced an emergency response plan to manage the arrival process.


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Editor: Helen Wright

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