First day at Ukrainian help center did not go smoothly

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A support center for the Ukrainian people opened Monday in Rīga, Congress Hall. The first day did not go as promised, and the center struggled to cope with the influx of refugees, LETA reported March 7.

The center served fewer than 300 people, whereas approximately 700–800 had waited in line. Consequently, there was a situation that people who had come at nine in the morning waited all day. In addition, they were not offered what the organizers had promised.

A woman who had come to Latvia a couple of days ago and stayed with relatives, after waiting in line all day long, had been given neither a travel voucher in Riga public transport nor a food package. Given that her line had arrived at the end of the day, she hadn't been able to apply for a visa either. She also spent the whole day in the House of Congress without the opportunity to eat.

The municipality also confirmed to LETA that all necessary assistance was not provided on the first day due to the lack of organization.

On Monday, refugees had the opportunity to register, to fill out their visa application, to photograph for a visa. There was also an opportunity to find out the necessary information regarding the educational opportunities for children, to register a child in a kindergarten line, and to find out job opportunities.

The municipality stressed that on Tuesday it is planned to increase the capacity of the support center by attracting more municipal employees and volunteers, as well as seeking solutions to ensure food.

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