A long-term plan is being drawn up to help Ukrainian refugees in the Balearics. | Majorca Daily Bulletin reporter

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More than 360 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the Balearics according to the National Police who are processing their paperwork.

The Government Delegate to the Balearics, Aina Calvo, announced the figures today after a meeting with the President of the Balearic Government, Francina Armengol, representatives of the island councils and local councils, as well as the Red Cross and the Ukrainian consulate in Barcelona, about the relation to the reception plan.

However, Calvo pointed out that they are trying to obtain the real number of Ukrainians who have arrived in the Balearics, bearing in mind that these are people who have freedom of movement.

She explained that the only available figure for the moment is the number of temporary reception requests which have been submitted to the National Police.

According to the Minister for Social Affairs, Fina Santiago, the Balearic government has asked various hotel federations to make some 200 places available to help accommodate the 240 refugees who are currently staying at the Covid hotel, as the contract expires at the end of the month.

She explained that the government will need these places for approximately one month while it plans and organises definitive places for the refugees.

Santiago explained that the government is seeking the maximum number of places possible so that all those who wish to stay on the islands can do so, and do not have to move to the four large reception centres on the mainland.

She also said that the policy of foster families is still being finalised and asked for patience from those who have offered to be foster families.

Calvo explained, for her part, that the authorities are working on a long-term programme for reception, more than a year, not because the conflict may continue - “hopefully not” - but because although it will end imminently, it will still be a long time before the refugees will be able to return home.

Calvo stressed that she wants the refugees to be able to lead a life as similar as possible to the one they led in their country of origin while they are in Spain.

Francina Armengol presided over the meeting convened to deal with the issue of the reception of refugees from Ukraine.

She expressed the “immense pain” felt by the Balearics due to the “terrible situation” of a war in the heart of Europe, and stressed the need to define “measures of welcome and solidarity for people who are forced to leave their country”.

After the meeting, Armengol stressed the willingness of the institutions to try to make places available for the reception plan, as well as to guarantee all refugees’ rights.

The Regional Ministry of Education and Vocational Training has prepared schooling protocols and care services for new arrivals, while the Regional Ministry for Health has set up beds at the Son Espases and Son Llàtzer hospitals for children or adult patients who need them.