12 March 2009
Officials from the UN's High Commission for Refugees, UNHCR, and Romania on Thursday officially opened an emergency transit refugee centre in Timisoara, western Romania, to house refugees facing acute danger and in need of immediate evacuation.
The centre, the first of its kind in the world, has been set up by the Romanian government, UNHCR and the International Organization for Migration following an investment of 900,000 euros. The shelter will provide a temporary haven for refugees pending final resettlement in a third country.
The organisations who have set up the centre are appealing for greater financial assistance. "The center can now host some 200 persons, but we hope to soon increase its capacity. In this regard, we need financial support from European countries as the number of refugees all over the world is still too big,"
said Erika Feller, Assistant High Commissioner at the UNCHR.
The center was already used earlier this year, when it temporarily hosted a group of 42 Sudanese refugees after they were evacuated from a makeshift camp in the Iraqi desert.