Brno, June 16 (CTK) – The number of Syrian refugees in the Moravian capital Brno has been rising, as has local people’s fear of a wave of refugees coming from Africa and the Middle East, Veronika Imrichova, from the Brno Catholic diocese charity group, told CTK Tuesday.

Before 2014, the charity group provided help to a single family from the local Syrian community, while now it registers three dozens of Syrian recipients of aid in Brno and its surroundings, Imrichova said.

The group is seated in Zastavka near Brno, where a facility for the acceptance of asylum seekers is located.

It offers several programmes in aid of refugees.

One of them is designed for those entitled to international protection and is aimed at their integration in Czech society.

Another one focuses on the refugees’ access to health care, Imrichova said.

She said the number of the two programmes’ recipients has increased by 100 to about 400 people in the past two years. The number of Syrians among them has increased as well.

“Last year, the clients included some 30 Syrians. We don’t know the figures for this year yet, but they are definitely higher,” Imrichova said.

The charity group advises foreigners on how to seek accommodation, job, school for children, and it helps them overcome the language barrier.

Imrichova said the most frequent reason why refugees apply for asylum is a danger they face in their homeland.

“There are war conflicts, such as in Syria or Ukraine. In most cases, the refugees would like to return home, but this is impossible due to the persisting danger,” Imrichova said.

She said the Czechs are more and more afraid of a wave of refugees.

“Their apprehensions are nourished by the media information, which is often misleading. Foreigners are presented rather negatively [by the media],” Imrichova said.

“The way the public perceives foreigners is also influenced by the fact that the Czech Republic has never been an immigrant destination and Czechs have no experience with people from different culture. As a result, they fear what is unknown to them,” Imrichova added.

Mainly the south of Europe has been afflicted by a massive influx of African refugees in the past months. The EC wants them to be distributed among EU member countries based on compulsory quotas, which is opposed by some members, including Prague.