The Social Insurance Board has expanded its information point at Tallinn Bus Station to provide even better assistance to Ukrainian war refugees who have arrived in Estonia. The information point has been well received by war refugees, as in addition to war refugees arriving in Tallinn directly from the eastern border, Ukrainian war refugees already in Estonia turn to the information point for advice.
‘By expanding the information point at Tallinn Bus Station, we want to offer traumatised war refugees help and counselling in a calmer environment. The need for it is clearly growing,’ Kert Valdaru, the Head of the Crisis Committee at the Social Insurance Board, explained.
The information point at Tallinn Bus Station has been open for eight weeks now, during which thousands of people have been advised at the information point and 2,286 people have been referred to temporary accommodation. The 30 places of stay at the Jõhvi information point, which opened two weeks ago, are also in constant use, providing assistance to war refugees in transit.
‘We try to meet the needs and offer human warmth to people and their companions who have taken their pets with them when they have fled the war, which is why, for example, at the information point in Jõhvi alone, we have helped four cats, five dogs, and two ferrets who have fled with their owners. This demonstrates that the need for public assistance and service is well received and much needed by war refugees,’ Valdaru added.
After the end of the emergency, the reception points for war refugees in Tartu and Pärnu were converted into information points of the Social Insurance Board, and information points were opened in Tallinn Bus Station and Jõhvi.
At the information points, people can get more information about the possibilities of staying in Estonia and, if necessary, they will arrange accommodation in simple conditions (up to 24 hours) until the refugee has received temporary protection or has been able to move on from Estonia. Psycho-social crisis support and modest food and drink will be provided if needed. People can also get help from the information point if they arrive in Estonia in the evening, at night, on a weekend or national holiday and do not have a temporary place to stay.
The information points of the Social Insurance Board are open 24/7 and are located in: Tallinn Bus Station (Lastekodu 46), Pärnu (Pikk 18), Tartu (Riia 179), and Jõhvi (Viru 5A). At the Narva border crossing point, refugees will be assisted by a liaison officer who will also help them when they arrive in Jõhvi.
It is no longer possible to apply for temporary protection at these information points, but the Police and Border Guard Board has moved it back to its own service rooms, which are staffed for this purpose. If a refugee who has been granted or has applied for temporary protection needs temporary accommodation, they will continue to be placed in the accommodation of the Social Insurance Board for short periods.
Since the beginning of the war, Estonia has received 42,257 Ukrainian refugees, with 12,570 of them minors. At the border, the Police and Border Guard Board registered the entry of 70,369 refugees, of whom 28,112 used Estonia as a transit point. The total number of applications for temporary protection registered as of 12 June is 27,489.