Ukrainian refugee flow across Latvian border continues

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Asylum seekers from Ukraine continue to cross the Latvian border. The border inspection post to Grebneva also operates a border information point where the involvement of young volunteers is currently urgently needed. The situation is exacerbated by the need to provide assistance to citizens of other countries, Latgale Television reported on May 24.

Volunteers Inese and Ulrika travel monthly from Valmiera to Grebneva. There, both have been working since the point was created, each with at least four consecutive shifts. As summer approaches, additional volunteers are needed.

“It's not easy, we can't really sleep at night, so people don't have the strength. Psychologically, you need endurance because you have to go through it, and everybody can't be helped anyway. If you want to help everybody, you're going to burn yourself,” said the volunteer Inese.

Some funny moments do occur, but for the most part, the stories are harsh.

“Yesterday we had a young family, a mother and father, thirty years old, with a small five-year-old child. Then they said they really wanted to leave long ago, but they didn't have the money to leave. Then they spent nine months saving money so they could leave. They don't have any money, they don't have a job,” said Inese.

Volunteers stress that the flow of refugees is continuing. On a daily basis, more than a hundred asylum seekers are coming.

The State Border Guard also confirmed that the number was unchanged. "We see the Ukrainians traveling on average up to 150 people daily. The same with exit: about a hundred people travel out in one day. The trend is now also for Moldovan citizens, with around the same figures,” said Alvis Donskis, chief of the State Border Guard's Grebneva border post.

There are currently around 20 people active as volunteers, mainly from Rīga and Vidzeme, the fewest from Latgale. But local engagement would ease the daily lives of permanent volunteers.

As of June, a new point of support for Ukrainians will be opened at the border inspection post near Viļaka, where the involvement of young volunteers will also be needed. But in Silene, where the flow of Ukrainians has subsided, the point will be closed.

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