Sixty-one people staying at Estonia's two asylum seekers centers

A Vao Köök (kitchen) offering street food prepared by residents of the Vao center in June.
A Vao Köök (kitchen) offering street food prepared by residents of the Vao center in June. Source: ERR

A total of 61 people were staying at Estonia's two asylum seekers' centers as of the beginning of the month, Baltic News Service reports.

The two centers are located at Vao, Järva County, and Vägeva, Jõgeva County, in central Estonia. The centers are about 30 km from each other.

Thirty asylum seekers plus nine people who have already been granted international protection were residing at the Vao center, according to BNS. Eight of the nine granted protection arrived in Estonia under the European Union's migration distribution plan.

Most of those at Vao come from the Russian Federation, Syria, Turkey and Albania, and include five families, with six women and 14 children among their numbers, according to BNS.

Twenty-two people were staying at Vägeva, all of them seeking asylum. These included five families, with eight women and the same number of children. The reported spread of nationalities at Vägeva was more diverse, with people from Nigeria, Uganda, Turkey, Iraq and Ukraine, as well as the Russian Federation, represented.

Four people arrived at both centers in September, and one child was born.

Spokespersons for welfare services provider AS Hoolekandeteenused said that residents are offered Estonian language classes three times per week, with an "acclimatization cafe" (Kohanemiskohvik) event held once a week, providing information and advice on adapting to life in Estonia.

Topics up for discussion at September's Kohanemiskohvik were, perhaps unsurprisingly, related to autumn, with advice on appropriate clothing to the time of year, road safety including the wearing of a reflector (Helkur) and even on how to make and store preserves from garden produce.

Estonia imposes its own migration quota, set at 1,315 people per annum, for third country nationals. The EU migration redistribution quotas date back to the European migrant crisis of 2016.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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