REPORT. War in Ukraine: how Paris welcomes thousands of refugees

From Wednesday, March 16, 2022, Accuale Ukraine has moved to the Porte de Versailles exhibition center. (©MAM / News Paris)

children trust while playing. I do not see No from tears, but small words that reveal the trauma they have gone through. » At the only collection point Ukrainian refugees in Parisat the Porte de Versailles exhibition center since mid-March 2022, hundreds of professionals have been guiding and supporting families displaced by the war that has been going on in their country since February 24th.

“For the first time in history, temporary protection was introduced”

The reception area is teeming. At 9 am the line is already long to get to this supermarket established by the state and controlled by associations such as France Terre d’Asile, Coallia, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Families come directly from Eastern Station. They first register with the Prefecture of Police and then with the French Office of Immigration and Integration (Ofii).

The center has 10 Prefecture Police and 10 Ofii counters.
The center has 10 Prefecture Police and 10 Ofii counters. (©MAM / News Paris)

“So they can benefit from temporary protection reserved for citizens of Ukraine, indicates Helen Supios-David advocacy director of France Terre d’Asile. This device is put into operation for the first time in history, it was created after the conflict in the territory of the former Yugoslavia then the crisis Kosovo but never activated. »

This measure allows them to resident card automatically for six months, renewable for up to three years. They also enjoy permission to work, access to housing, social assistance, health care, education and training, and family reunification.

And to answer them needs most elementary, every adult can understand 400 euro per month. An amount that varies depending on the number of dependent children. Every day, 300 pre-clearances stay highlighted in this center. For Ukrainians who do not have identity documents, “this is on a case-by-case basis.” They are issued a residence permit. month pending confirmation of their identity.

“Ile de France is oversaturated”

Then, if they need housing, they navigate by the available places.

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“In the vast majority of cases, people are transferred to region. Ile de France is saturated, but mobilization East huge in the rest of the territory,” says Helen Supios-David. Therefore, they are sent to the south or north, depending on the living conditions offered by the prefectures, and on a voluntary basis.

According to France Terre d'Asile, there is a large mobilization in the regions to receive Ukrainian families who fled their country.
According to France Terre d’Asile, there is a large mobilization in the regions to receive Ukrainian families who fled their country. (©MAM / News Paris)

“In this unprecedented context, we had to face an unexpected event: families took their animals from Company, she describes. In such a situation, traveling with an animal is very difficult, a lot of paperwork is needed, but in this particular case, an indulgence was needed. Thus the associations adapted themselves and supplied themselves with food to greet cats And dogs who traveled with their masters.

440 placements

In case the process takes longer, 440 pico beds are available, “one evening we reached a peak of 400 occupied beds”, details Nordin Sedkaoui, director of the Paris territorial division of Coallia. “Despite our fears of being overwhelmed, this is not the case yet,” he relativizes.

Since the opening of the reception center, 1,900 people have received assistance.
Since the opening of the reception center, 6,000 people have received assistance. (©MAM / News Paris)

This place is meant for transit, people are not meant to stay. They sleep here for two or three nights at the most.

Nordin SedkaouiDirector of the Paris Territorial Division of Coallia

“I don’t see tears”

In the space reserved for children, the little ones are taken care of by Katarina, a Ukrainian who has been living in France for 20 years. “I try to give them what they lack. Food, health are important, but they are just as important for listen to them and with parents it is more difficult for them to express themselves, ”admits one who works in a Parisian nursery.

In the space dedicated to children, the walls are decorated with drawings of hearts, flags of Ukraine and France.
In the space dedicated to children, the walls are decorated with drawings of hearts, flags of Ukraine and France. (©MAM / News Paris)

” I do not see No from tearsbut small words revealing injury what they went through. They can draw and come out that they were on a train, and the next moment the train following them, for example, exploded. »

Since the opening of this reception center, almost 6000 people taken care of and 1900 slept there. “Mostly women of all generations. We had a case with a woman from 90 years old who landed at Beauvais and who, in shock, did not even remember how she managed to get here, ”writes Helen Supios-David, before admitting that this was the largest flow of refugees she had ever seen.

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