Since the summer, the number of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Estonia has decreased significantly and temporary accommodation is being closed due to lack of demand.
Last spring, up to 300 Ukrainian refugees crossed the Estonian-Russian border in Narva every day. But last week, less than 50 people arrived.
"The number of refugees has fallen sharply and according to today's information, zero people have come and the previous days were basically the same with a maximum of two people," said Kristi Mürk, director of the Narva Social Assistance Board.
The refugee information point set up at Peetri plats has also seen few visitors recently. Last week, only two people sought help and they planned to travel to Norway.
When Ukrainians arrive they are offered temporary accommodation by the Social Insurance Board (SKA). The agency has found beds for 25,000 people since February 2022 but currently only a handful of people are using the service.
"The accommodation for Ukrainians will be phased out and the aim is that by the end of the year, barring any significant change, we will be back to our normal routine, which means that we will continue to provide an accommodation service for international protection applicants but it will be in the accommodation centers in Vao and Vägeva," said Liis Paloots, head of SKA's crisis management migration team.
Trends show more people arrive when Russia bombs cities and civilian infrastructure. The authorities are ready to act if this situation occurs this winter.
"If there should be an increase in the number of refugees arriving again, we have solutions in place so that we can provide them with the accommodation they need," Paloots said.
Currently, there are 36,000 Ukrainians in Estonia with temporary protection residence permits.
Editor: Mari Peegel, Helen Wright
Source: Aktuaalne kaamera