Spain’s Office for Asylum and Refuge (OAR) and the Policia Nacional have granted 51,957 temporary visas, over the last month, to people displaced by the war in Ukraine, almost a thousand of those are in the Canary Islands (965), according to the Ministry of the Interior. More have been arriving across Spain, and on the islands, some being accommodated by private individuals, with many more seeking refuge after more than 45 days of horrendous bloodshed.
635 have officially been processed in the western province of Santa Cruz de Tenerife and 330, so far, in the eastern province of Las Palmas.
All of them now have an official residence permit and, for those of legal age, a work permit. Displaced persons who obtain temporary protection can also use their driving licenses in Spain for at least one year.
The Spanish autonomous communities that have received the most requests include the capital, Madrid, having registered 10,133, Valencia, 9,229, Catalonia 9,023, and Andalusia 7,421.
These are followed by Murcia who have accepted 2,125 thus far, Castilla y León 2,034, Aragón 1,915, the Balearic Islands 1,615, Castilla-La Mancha 1,612, the Basque Country 1,454, Galicia 1,450, The Canary Islands 965, Asturias 815, Navarra 733, Cantabria 691, Extremadura 400 and La Rioja 330, and there are also nine who have reached the autonomous city of Ceuta and three in Melilla, on the north African coast.
Displaced persons arriving in Spain can apply for temporary protection at the reception and shelter centres authorised by the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration in Pozuelo de Alarcón (Madrid), in the Ciudad de la Luz in Alicante, at the Fira de Barcelona and in the Palace of Fairs and Congresses of Malaga, as well as at the 70 National Police stations authorised to carry out these procedures.
The Minister for the Interior, Fernando Grande-Marlaska, and the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, on March 9 signed the order regulating the urgent procedure for the recognition of temporary protection.
This procedure is in response to the agreement reached on March 4 by the EU Council of Ministers of the Interior to activate, for the first time in history, the European temporary protection directive.
More than 13,000 Ukrainian minors have enrolled in Spanish schools
The Government has granted almost 52,000 applications for temporary protection of those displaced by the war in Ukraine, 39.4% of which are minors, of whom more than 13,000 have already started to attend school, almost twice as many as just one week ago.
In addition to that number, to date, 48,979 displaced persons have been assisted, according to the Ministry of the Presidency, Relations with the Courts and Democratic Memory in a statement, in which it was confirmed that on April 6 a new reception centre, for the care and referral of displaced persons, located in Malaga, has been added to those in Madrid, Barcelona and Alicante.
In total, the Office for Asylum and Refuge (OAR) and the National Police have granted 51,957 temporary protections to people displaced by the war in Ukraine in just one month, of which 29,263 have been processed in police stations throughout Spain, said the Ministry of Interior.
Several private individuals and families have opened their homes to those fleeing the war, those with spare rooms or apartments, often without any formal guidance or assistance whatsoever.
We have been speaking to one such couple in the Sonnenland area, near Maspalomas, who agreed to take ten people, but have found themselves filling the house with at least 5 families, mostly women and children, who have found support among the local community with The Food Project in Arguineguín (Mogán), and Karuna in Maspalomas (San Bartolomé de Tirajana), helping to supply much needed food and fresh produce, as well as beds and other items of furniture.
The community association and grass roots activists, We Are Warriors Shop, who collect donations in Puerto Rico de Gran Canaria, and help large numbers of individuals across the south, also opened their doors on Friday to allow these families to pick up some much needed clothing, and even donated hair cuts and food with the help of their collaborators, including Delilahs in the Puerto Rico Shopping Centre, and their Bulgarian hair stylist who offers solidarity cuts in support of the Warriors association.
Organisations like Angry Birds Activity Park have welcomed our new guests and offered support for some of the most vulnerable now arriving to our island.
It is an utterly astounding effort that is being undertaken, by a precious few, in support of people arriving with very little, with no friends or family networks, to a country whose language they don’t speak, and a system they do not yet understand.
It’s hard to imagine how this must feel, but in the end, the fact is, most refugees, or migrants, who find themselves in such terrible circumstances, every mother, every child, every brother, sister, father, and grandmother, essentially suffer in just the same ways, no matter where the war from which they flee, no matter their point of origin, ethnicity or the colour of their skin. For most of us this situation is utterly unimaginable in our own lives, and until just two months ago, these people would have felt exactly the same.
They are families trying to survive, and for whom the future is utterly uncertain, having been ripped unceremoniously from normal lives, very much comparable with our own, having watched all they know and love suddenly destroyed or irrevocably altered.
The most heartbreaking parts of their story are, with luck, now behind them. Some will stay only as long as they need to, others have no idea what they might return to, and some will choose to start their lives afresh here. All of them consumed with concern for their friends and families, still living under the destructive shadow of Putin’s war.
<< Amendments have been made to this article in order to clarify that no distinctions, in our opinion, should ever be made between refugees or migrants based simply on their point of origin, the original wording was more ambiguous and possibly open to misinterpretation.
The Canary News supports no such distinctions along racial, religious or ethnic lines, in the firm belief that all migrants, and all refugees, are deserving of the very same humanitarian care, and basic respect, as promoted by our values as a society, supporting every person’s fundamental rights to live in peace, without fear or threat of violence, and to be able to seek opportunities to freely pursue happiness, education and the right to fair employment, to raise their families and live out their lives in contribution to society as a whole, no matter from where they come, or how they might get here. >> 13/04/2022
Our gratitude for consultation and additional texts in collaboration with Mister Paul Barton, Mogán