PRAGUE (Reuters) – More than 100,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the Czech Republic, the Interior Ministry said on Monday, as the country and others in central Europe step up efforts to take in the influx of people fleeing after Russia’s invasion.
At least 1.7 million have fled Ukraine since the Feb. 24 invasion, with most crossing into the European Union in eastern Poland, Slovakia, Hungary and northern Romania.
The Czech ministry said that of the people who have continued to the Czech Republic, around 57,000 have already received special visas, with more than half of those children.
Around a quarter of refugees have gone to the capital Prague, it said. Authorities there needed to temporarily shut the city’s refugee assistance centre on Monday due to capacity strains.
Ukrainians comprise the Czech Republic’s biggest foreign community, with almost 197,000 residing legally at the end of 2021, according to the Interior Ministry.
The U.N. refugee agency has called the Ukraine conflict the fastest moving refugee crisis in Europe since the end of World War Two.
While many who have arrived in central Europe so far had friends and places to go to, officials worry further waves of Ukrainians would arrive with less and need more help.
(Reporting by Jason Hovet; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)