Pedro Sánchez, visiting the playroom at the refugee centre. /salvador salas

Pedro Sánchez, visiting the playroom at the refugee centre. / salvador salas

Spain's PM visits Ukrainian refugee centre in Malaga which is to be expanded to provide more temporary accommodation

This Wednesday morning Pedro Sánchez visited the facility, which has attended to nearly 2,000 people in the two weeks it has been open. Since Russia invaded Ukraine some 134,000 refugees have come to Spain

ANTONIO M. ROMERO Malaga

Spain's prime minister Pedro Sánchez was in Malaga this Wednesday morning, 20 April, to visit the Reception and Assistance Centre for Ukrainian Refugees, which opened in the Palacio de Ferias y Congresos on 6 April.

He explained that one more module measuring 5,000 square metres is to be added in the adjoining car park, to provide prefabricated housing with bedrooms, kitchen, bathroom and a small living room. Refugees will be able to stay there for a few days while more permanent accommodation is being found for them, which may be elsewhere in Spain.

In the two weeks this centre has been open, it has handled nearly 2,000 applications for temporary protection and has issued 1,300 Social Security numbers for those who want to find work.

Sánchez spent nearly an hour in the refugee centre, accompanied by the Minister for Inclusion, Social Security and Migrations, José Luis Escrivá, the Junta de Andalucía’s Minister of Public Works, Marifrán Carazo, the Junta’s delegate in Andalucía, Pedro Fernández, the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, the Ukraine ambassador in Spain, Serhii Pohoreltsev and the general manager of the Spanish Confederation for Refugee Assistance (CEAR), Estrella Galán.

They visited the National Police Foreigners’ Office, the Social Security Office, the health care department, the playroom and the desks at which the staff and CEAR volunteers attend to Ukraine refugees. They also saw the area with 70 beds which are for the use of refugees who cannot be accommodated immediately, where they can stay for up to 48 hours.

Humanitarian and military aid

Sánchez explained at a press conference afterwards that since Russia invaded Ukraine on 24 February, 134,000 refugees have come to Spain. Of the total, 64,000 have applied under the temporary protection scheme.

He also said that in his forthcoming visit to Ukraine, he will assure President Zelensky that the EU, and especially the government and people of Spain, are “strongly, unequivocally committed” to peace and solidarity with the Ukrainian people and with the refugees. “We are going to do everything we can to ensure that sooner rather than later there will be peace in Ukraine, and in the meantime we are deploying humanitarian and military aid and welcoming refugees to our country,” he said.