Hungary prepares for 1M Ukraine refugees

Brussels 25.03.2022 The Hungarian government position on the war in Ukraine, as Prime Minister Orbán reiterated on a number of occasions in recent weeks, remains clear and concise:

“We cannot allow Hungary to be dragged into an armed conflict, but we will continue to help all those fleeing war. So far, we’ve welcomed nearly 600,000 refugees from Ukraine, making Hungary the second-biggest host country after Poland; and we will continue to do our best to help those fleeing the war as we have done in the past” Orban said.

To this end, the government has organised care for refugees from Ukraine. By taking the necessary government decisions and coordinating the work of the armed forces, police, disaster relief services, government agencies, local authorities, health workers and volunteers, the government has ensured that the care of refugees is ongoing and covers everything from asylum procedures to treatment of the sick or wounded arriving in our country.

The government is also coordinating the accommodation of refugees from Ukraine, even helping them find a job, should they choose to stay in Hungary mid- to long-term

Help points have been set up near all border-crossing points on the Ukrainian-Hungarian border; these are available 24/7 to provide acute medical care, transport, accommodation and other assistance.

PM Orbán spent the second half of last week visiting towns and villages close to the Ukrainian border and confirmed that “everything is going smoothly.” According to him, “coordination at the border is working well, and, in the coming weeks, we will be able to continue to help all those in need.”

In Budapest, the Hungarian government turned a major sports and concert hall, called the BOK Sports Hall, into a humanitarian transit point, with more than 4,400 square meters of indoor space where refugees can receive a variety of services available to them. Since March 21, the transit point has been open around the clock and provides food, drink, medical care, sanitation, travel arrangements, a children’s corner and internet access, in cooperation with charities and volunteers. Additionally, Hungarian Railways (MÁV) is operating an international ticket office at the transit point where refugees can collect their solidarity tickets. For those traveling on from the transit point, special buses are available to the Keleti and Nyugati railway stations as well as Ferenc Liszt Airport, and for those staying in Hungary, accommodation is provided.

Meanwhile, through the National Humanitarian Coordination Council, the government is coordinating the collection of aid, donations, humanitarian aid supplies, and the work of domestic relief organizations.

On top of this, Hungary has organised healthcare for refugees, for everything from treating sick children to helping cancer patients, and GPs and ambulance staff can request Ukrainian-language assistance if they need interpretation.

A 24-hour hotline is available to provide information in Hungarian, Ukrainian and English on issues of importance to refugees. These include the procedures for recognition as an asylum seeker, border crossing, entry, and required documentation; the help desk also tries to offer assistance in individual life situations. The hotline is available at the following phone numbers: 06/80-310-310 from Hungary, 0-800/504-546 from Ukraine and +36/1-550-1828 internationally.

When it comes to material support, Hungary has provided around HUF 2 billion in humanitarian aid to date, including HUF 1.35 billion within the framework of the Hungary Helps Program, utilized to help local communities in Transcarpathia. In addition, Hungary has sent HUF 600 million worth of aid and disaster relief equipment so far.

The Hungarian government has recently provided HUF 500 million worth of support to each of the six charity organisations involved in the Bridge for Transcarpathia coalition, amounting to HUF 3 billion. The Coalition continues to receive donations by phone and by bank transfer, with the total amount raised now at HUF 792 million. This amount is received by the six charities through the National Humanitarian Coordination Council and can only be used to cover the costs of caring for refugees.

While taking in those who have fled is a high priority, Hungary has not forgotten that the sick and wounded in the war also have to be treated. This is why Hungary has also donated medical equipment and medicines to Ukraine as part of a coordinated EU assistance: We sent 120 ventilators to hospitals in Transcarpathia and other Ukrainian hospitals immediately before the outbreak of the war, and we have recently donated more than 200 ventilators, 250 patient monitors, 25 central monitors, 100 infusion pumps and blood bags.

The Hungarian government expects the refugee influx to intensify in the coming days and weeks, with the total number of refugees admitted by Hungary reaching 1 million very soon. Hungary, Hungarian society, and our charity organisations, authorities and volunteers are all ready and prepared to do a superhuman job in making sure that everyone is cared for, the Hungarian diplomacy ensured.

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