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Tartu turns city's Ukraine war refugee assistance over to district centers

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A "STOP WAR" sign hung on a promenade railing in front of Tartu's Arch Bridge (Kaarsild) lit up in blue and yellow. Source: Mana Kaasik

Nearly a year after opening, Tartu's central Ukrainian Information Center on Ülikooli tänav was closed Tuesday, as the project backing the center concluded and Estonia's second city turns Ukrainian refugee assistance over to its city district-based regional social assistance centers.

From now on, all Ukrainians that have been granted temporary protection can turn to the regional social assistance centers serving their respective places of residence, the City of Tartu said in a press release Thursday.

These centers can provide assistance with services and benefits as well as counseling for working-age people, the elderly and families with children.

"The City of Tartu will help everyone who has arrived in Tartu and been granted international protection settle in," said Merle Liivak, director of the city's Department of Social Welfare and Healthcare.

"These activities will continue in cooperation with the Social Insurance Board (SKA)," Liivak said, adding that they will be funded from the EU's Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund (AMIF).

Tartu currently operates three regional assistance centers, serving Annelinn and Ülejõe (Anne 44), Karlova and Tammelinn (Rahu 15) as well as Tähtvere and Veeriku (Vaksali 14).

Located at Ülikooli 17, opposite the main building of the University of Tartu (TÜ), the Ukrainian Information Center was opened in the second half of November last year, providing a "one-stop shop" for war refugees from Ukraine, where coordinators from the city's Social Welfare and Healthcare Department engaged in assisting and counseling the refugees.

The center received funding from the European Social Fund (ESF) project "Coordination of War Refugees in the City of Tartu," which ran from November 1, 2022 through October 31 this year.

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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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