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Czech News in English » News » Over 1,500 Czech volunteers helping refugees abroad

Over 1,500 Czech volunteers helping refugees abroad

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Prague, Nov 26 (CTK) – Over 1,500 volunteers from the Czech Republic have been helping the refugees abroad since early September, Zuzana Lenhartova, from the We Are Helping Fleeing People group, told CTK yesterday.
They have organised help at the border crossings through which the refugees are coming, providing them with food and clothing, Lenhartova said.
The operation and material for the people in need costs them on average 20,000 crowns a day, she added.
The help by Czech volunteers has been praised by Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) and Deputy Prime Minister Pavel Belobradek (Christian Democrats, KDU-CSL)
Human Rights Minister Jiri Dienstbier (CSSD) said the work rendered by Czech men and women in the camps and on the borders was very visible. Without it, the influx of refugees would be uncontrollable, he added.
Groups of volunteers work alternately abroad. They pay their trips from their own means.
They gain the money for material help to the people in need mostly from their families, relatives and friends.
Now the People in Need has set aside 1.25 million crowns and the Foreign Ministry 1.2 million for the purpose.
“All the money is for material help, the purchase of water, food and sanitary needs,” the NGO has said in its press release.
“It will be used in December and at the beginning of next year,” it added.
Volunteers from the Czech Republic at first set out to help at the Keleti railway station in Budapest. Then they set out to the Roeszke border crossing at the Hungarian-Serbian border.
A makeshift camp was opened there between September 4 and 15 when the Hungarian border was closed.
Lenhartova said the state had not ensured anything there. The volunteers and NGOs from various countries were in charge of a greenhouse in which the refugees were sleeping. They also hired mobile toilets and provided food.
Warm food was at first delivered by German volunteers and then by the Czech group.
Between September 23 and November 3, the Czech team organised the work on the Serbian-Croatian Berkasovo-Bapska border crossing.
It was acquiring food and further material and it was mainly in charge of operation and provision of information.
Every day, the camp consumed up to 1,000 half-a-litre bottles with water, crates with bananas and apples, thousands of Muesli bars, 40 kilogrammes of sugar, four gas tanks and a petrol can.
The volunteers were cooking over 400 litres of tea every day.
Lenhartova said some 30 Czech volunteers were now abroad. Ten of them are at the Greek Lesbos island, the rest in the Balkans.
The Prague Autonomous Social Centre Clinic has collected almost half a million crowns to help the displaced people. It has sent over 120 vans with clothing and further material to the border with Hungary and Berkasovo.
The group We Are Helping Detained Refugees (PUDE) focuses on the migrants held in Czech detention facilities.
Coordinator Alexandr Flek said it had collected 80,000 crowns for its account since the end of September. So far, it has used 30,000 crowns to buy shoes, socks, bed linen, sanitary needs and other things.
Over 400 volunteers have helped at the Prague Main Railway Station. Since early September, they have helped almost 600 refugees.
The group Hlavak also has a list of 50 people ready to provide accommodation to those in need.
“People are often released from detention facilities in the evening. As a result, they reach Prague by night, ending up at the Main Railway Station and having nowhere to go,” Hlavak’s members have said.
One hostel and a hotel have also offered free accommodation, Lenhartova said.
($1=25.527 crowns)

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