Municipality of Budapest, IOM, UNHCR Open Information and Community Centre for People Fleeing Ukraine
Budapest - Hungary has a key role in responding to the humanitarian crisis triggered by the eruption of war in neighboring Ukraine six months ago, which has led to the displacement of millions. Since then, over 1,2 million refugees and third-country nationals crossed the Hungarian-Ukrainian border.
In response, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in partnership with Municipality of Budapest, have jointly established the joint “Budapest Helps!” Information and Community Centre. The centre will support access to crucial information and assistance services for those who have fled the ongoing war in Ukraine and provide a safe space where people arriving to Hungary can meet with each other and the local Budapest community. The centre will also host a wide range of community events focusing on integration and wellbeing, including Hungarian language classes and early childhood development support.
“Our common mission is to help and support refugees who are fleeing Ukraine, and our main goal is to reach as many vulnerable people as possible,” said Gergely Karácsony, Mayor of Budapest, at the official opening ceremony of IOM-UNHCR joint community centre in September.
“Collaboration between IOM and UNHCR is the fundamental approach we take in the management of mixed migratory flows,” said Daniel Bagaméri, IOM’s Head of Office in Hungary. “Our aim is to provide lifesaving assistance and ensure accessibility to basic services to those individuals most exposed to risk, including refugees and third-country nationals as well as vulnerable individuals. Additionally, availability of accurate information is among the most important needs. Together with the Info Point at the Nyugati railway station and our Hotline, this new place will help us reach an even wider range of displaced people.”
“This Centre will not only provide Ukrainian refugees with information on their rights and opportunities or help them with learning Hungarian” highlighted Muriel Tschopp, UNHCR Senior Operations Officer in Hungary. “We want this centre to become sort of a new home, to build a community. Through cultural and other community events we want this place to grow into a bridge between Ukrainian refugees and Hungarians. We hope this Centre will be the beginning of many new friendships.”
The “Budapest Helps!” Information and Community Centre, run by IOM and UNHCR near Deák Ferenc square , will be open from Monday to Saturday.
IOM in Hungary and the Municipality of Budapest signed a cooperation agreement in May 2022 to provide Ukrainian refugees and third-country nationals fleeing from Ukraine to Hungary with immediate assistance, as well as medium- and long-term support. IOM Hungary is running an Info Point at the Nyugati railway station in partnership with the Municipality to provide information and immediate assistance to those forcibly displaced from Ukraine.
As part of the regional Ukraine response, the Organization also offers individual counselling to beneficiaries including third-country nationals, as well as medium- and long-term solutions responsive to their health, protection, shelter, water and sanitation needs.
UNHCR works in close coordination with Hungarian Government counterparts to support refugees and asylum-seekers while maintaining positive collaborations with state entities including local and municipal authorities, UN agencies, NGOs, humanitarian partners, civil society organizations and other relevant stakeholders providing assistance to those seeking protection.
As part of the Ukraine Situation response, UNHCR leads and coordinates the Refugee Coordination Forum (RCF) at country-level in Hungary to ensure harmonized response within existing government structures and among interagency partners, NGOs, volunteers and other stakeholders.
“Budapest Helps!” Information and Community Centre
Adress: 1052, Budapest, Bárczy István street 1-3.
Open: 8 am - 8 pm
- Judit Szentirmai, Budapest Municipality
- Anna Boglárka GERGELY at IOM Hungary firstname.lastname@example.org
- Zoran Stevanovic, External RelationsOfficer, UNHCR Central Representation for Central Europe, email@example.com