Refugees from Ukraine have been received at the capital’s main train stations by various NGOs for many weeks. They have received not only a quick response to their “most basic” needs there, but also information was provided on practical issues. These stations were full of refugees, civil organizations, as well as volunteers. Although everyone assisted them with patience and love, the turmoil made daily traffic difficult. Probably for this reason, the government made the decision to set up a transit shelter nearby.
This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute.
On Friday, the Prime Minister’s office announced that from now on they won’t take care of and register refugees at the train stations, but at a transit shelter for refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine in the “Budapest Olympic Center’s” (BOK) “B” Hall near Keleti Station from Monday.
In addition, the government also decided to empty the affected stations, with civilians and volunteers, in addition to refugees, to leave the facilities by midnight Sunday. Emptying the stations took place immediately, and by 5 a.m. Monday morning, most news portals were already reporting on abandoned waiting rooms.
This means that from this Monday on, the reception and care of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Budapest by train will change greatly. The information was collected by the Facebook group “Assistance (Ukraine, Carpathians).”
The Hungarian Athletics Federation has made the BOK sports hall (the former Syma Hall) available to care for the refugees, and as of Monday, the defense committee of Budapest has set up a new transit shelter there.
Aid organizations will be present in the hall in alternating shifts from 8:00 a.m, to 8:00 p.m. and from 8 p.m. to 8:00 a.m., that is, there is continuous service provided for the refugees.
Among other things that are provided are:
- Catering counter (hot and cold food)
- Doctors’ room
- Immigration information center
- Ticket office of Hungarian State Railways (MÁV)
- Separate rest area
- Baby-mother corner/children’s corner
- Animal aid station
Refugees arriving in Budapest on special trains must get off the train at Kőbánya felső station and will be transferred to BOK Hall on special buses.
Scheduled trains bound to the Eastern and Western Railway Stations (Keleti and Nyugati pályaudvar) are awaited by the Civil Protection and police, and refugees arriving there are directed to BOK Hall. As of now, it seems that no additional transportation is organized for them to this new transit hall, which is relatively close to the Eastern Railway Station and may be reached on foot in about twenty minutes. However, this seems to be a difficult challenge for women arriving with heavy luggage and small children after a long journey.
As a consequence, charities and food distribution are no longer available at the train stations.
The Facebook page also provides information about what kind of help is sought after and where. At the moment, help is needed mainly for interpretation for the refugees and transporting them. Volunteers are also wanted on the spot. However, they always ask to contact the organizations to find out exactly what kind of help is needed.
featured image via Zoltán Balogh/MTI