Tartu hotels filling up with people fleeing war in Ukraine

  • 2022-03-07
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - By Sunday afternoon, 100 people fleeing the war in Ukraine had arrived in Tartu and had been placed in two hotels, in one of which all the places reserved for Ukrainian war refugees have been already taken up, Tartu Postimees reported. 

Negotiations are now underway with a third Tartu hotel to offer accommodation to new arrivals. Generally, people heading for Tartu from Ukraine give advance notice of their arrival, but there are also some who drive directly to the hotels offering accommodation.

"Getting this process going is difficult and issues that need to be resolved are constantly emerging, but so far we have managed to solve all concerns," Tartu Deputy Mayor Mihkel Lees said.

There have also been recurring problems in the last few days. For example, the city authorities have had to deal with families where the father of the family has been working in Estonia for some time and has shared accommodation with other workers from Ukraine. When the family arrives, however, it turns out that there is not enough room for everyone in one apartment.

One of the most serious problems that needed to be solved concerns medical care. The people fleeing the war need medicines ranging from painkillers to prescription drugs, but often have no  health insurance. Nor is there a central system in place yet for dealing with such situations.

"We have talked to two family doctors who are ready to deal with the refugees and prescribe medication if necessary," said Lees.

"They say they want to go home," the deputy mayor said. However, there are those who have been in a hotel for a few days and then moved on, either to friends or relatives in another city or to another country.

Lees said it's too early to talk about future plans at this stage, as this war is not a sprint but a marathon, and questions about permanent residence will arise when it's necessary to move out of the hotel.