Mayor Staķis: Rīga sees only the first wave of Ukrainian refugees

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By Friday evening, 6,253 Ukrainian war refugees were registered in Rīga until Friday evening. This is only the first wave and not the biggest, said mayor Mārtiņš Staķis on Latvian Television Sunday, March 20.

The municipality provides a place of residence for 899 persons, while others live with friends and acquaintances. Riga has contracts for the use of 4,000 locations and has identified about 700 households who would be prepared to host refugees, Staķis said. 

The civil protection plan for Rīga has around 26,000 places in schools and nursery schools where Ukrainian people could be housed but this would significantly disrupt he learning process. Staķis said that, for example, in Warsaw and Prague churches and virtually any free space is used for refugee accommodation. 

The municipality estimates that the current situation will require additional places for 515 pupils and around 100 children in pre-primary schools. Refugees can choose a teaching institution and mostly look at minority schools. The limits of the Ukrainian high school are currently exhausted, but a solution is being arranged for the acquisition of new spaces. A large part also chooses remote learning.

Staķis also said that hooligan actions against refugee property or the Ukrainian flag will not be allowed in Riga. He called on anyone to use the local government police app to record any offenses on video and to immediately send information to law enforcement so that the perpetrators are caught without delay.

Staķis also mentioned that he would ask for the ban of May 9 celebrations in Rīga.

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