Centres closing despite continued need among Ukrainian refugees

Volunteer interest also waning.

A large-capacity centre for Ukrainian refugees in Bratislava.A large-capacity centre for Ukrainian refugees in Bratislava. (Source: SME - Marko Erd)

Although Ukrainian refugees in Slovakia are still in need of help, the Interior Ministry is gradually closing large-capacity centres which offer a one-stop location for Ukrainians to obtain temporary refuge status, find accommodation, get medical assistance, and register for benefits.

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At the beginning of Russia's invasion, more than ten thousand Ukrainians fled over the border into Slovakia every day.

But by spring those numbers had fallen to just a few thousand - for example, on May 10 2,437 came. This has risen recently though and on August 10 3,308 refugees arrived.

Meanwhile, as refugee numbers have dropped, so too have levels of interest in volunteer help. At the beginning of the war hundreds of people came to humanitarian aid centres, often bringing baskets full of food, the situation is different today and centres are reassessing how long they can remain open.

However, many refugees continue to arrive at them needing food or other material aid.

"If a mother comes with three children of her own and two of her sister's, she is unemployable. Such people need our help now and will need it in a month," said Jana Čengelová, coordinator of a centre in the Aupark shopping mall in Bratislava.

Related article It's August and I really want to go home to Ukraine Read more 

Only two large-capacity centres are open

The large-capacity centre in Nitra, western Slovakia, which served as the first point of contact for foreigners, has been closed since August 8. The city authorities' advisor for foreign relations and cooperation, Ivona Fraňová, says that she learned about the closure when she read about it in a newspaper.

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