File photograph of refugees arriving in Malaga. / sur

Andalucía has taken in more than 9,400 Ukrainian refugees so far

Over 2,500 are children and the regional government has now approved a decree to ensure that they are suitably cared for

Héctor Barbotta

Andalucía has taken in 9,472 Ukrainian refugees since the Russian invasion of their country on 24 February. Of these, over 2,500 are children, and on Tuesday, 17 May, the regional government approved a decree to establish regulations for their stay.

This decree, which was presented by the Ministry of Equality, Social Policies and Conciliation, will remain in force while the situation in Ukraine continues as a consequence of the war. So far, more than 14 million people have left their homes because of the conflict.

The humanitarian crisis has created a wave of solidarity in Andalucía. Thousands of families have offered to take in children, many of whom left Ukraine without their relatives. At present, 2,577 Ukrainian children are attending school in the region.

The decree is initially for one year and will be renewed every six months while the conflict continues. It aims to address this situation, because humanitarian crises deriving from war situations can be a favourable scenario for people trafficking and other violations of rights, especially for children, as the Junta’s spokesman Elías Bendodo explained.

Suitable families

One of the aspects addressed in the decree is the way of deciding how suitable families are if they offer to take in refugee children, as this situation is not covered by the Civil Code. For this reason, interviews and reports about potential foster families must be focused on the right care for these children and teenagers, with the agreement of the Ukraine authorities and within international law.

The decree also establishes that, among other things, the Junta de Andalucia is responsible for ensuring that the children receive suitable care and must search actively to locate their parents, other relatives or guardians.

It also says that all children of Ukrainian nationality, or whose habitual residence is in Ukraine, who have come to Andalucía because of the war and are not accompanied by their parents or guardians, must be registered with the Andalusian authorities.

Meanwhile, the Junta has announced that the Andalusian Health Service has provided medical assistance to 12,400 refugees since February. Of these, 11,113 were treated by a GP, 438 by hospital emergency departments and 980 were admitted urgently to hospital. Of the total, 564 are children.