Ukrainians in Spain make homes available to refugees

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Ukrainians

TORREVIEJA – The largest colony of Ukrainians in Spain is located in Torrevieja and Guardamar del Segura. They are now working together to provide assistance to refugees from their country ravaged by Putin’s violent invasion.

At least one million Ukrainians are said to have been displaced. A group of Ukrainians from the two municipalities in Alicante that lie on the southern part of Costa Blanca are now setting up shelters. In addition, the Ukrainians in Spain arrange that food, clothing, and medicines are transported to their country of origin.

“We work very actively with different associations and with all our contacts. However, it is a complicated task. Yet we already have several companies to bring people and relief supplies,” said Albina Zhezhnyavska, from the Ukrainian Association in Torrevieja.

Request maximum possible help

On Tuesday, she posted a call for help on social networks. “We appeal to conscience, so we ask for the maximum possible assistance. Also, we ask for the temporary reception of refugees in people’s homes, temporary rental of houses at low cost, food aid, economic aid, etc., any kind of help will be very well received and very much appreciated”.

There were immediately many reactions to the message. “There are people who offer their houses for shelter. A lot of space will be needed because a very big wave is coming,” predicts Albina. The association also cooperates with other associations of Ukrainians in Spain.

Albina has been in Spain since she was nine and grew up in Torrevieja. She has lived there for two decades and works as an interpreter-translator and consultant for paperwork and documents for other Ukrainians who come to settle in this area.

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Many Ukrainians living in the Costa Blanca work in construction. This is an important sector in the local economy of Vega Baja. “Everyone who wants to work works here, regardless of nationality,” she emphasises.

Ukrainians and Russians

In Torrevieja, 3.39% of the population comes from Ukraine (2,805 people) and 4.44% from Russia (3,675) out of a total of 82,842 inhabitants. In neighbouring Guardamar del Segura, 2.72% of the population is Ukrainian and 3.41% Russian out of a total of 15,983 inhabitants.

More Ukrainians in the area than are on registries

“With covid, many people have also come from Ukraine and have not registered. That is why there are many more Ukrainians here than the official census shows,” clarifies Albina. She also emphasises the normal coexistence” with the large Russian community on the coast. “We support each other as much as we can. The majority of Russians here are against the war.”

Municipal building

22 local NGOs met on Tuesday at the initiative of the Torrevieja municipality. They discussed the aid which they can send to Ukraine and how they plan to coordinate it. The municipality provides a path for the reception of all material. Volunteers here work together with the Association of Ukrainians in Torrevieja to send the donations daily from Torrevieja to the border between Ukraine and Poland.

Special bank account

According to the secretary of the association, the need for financial resources is greatest. This buys the things and medicines that are most needed. In the coming days, the association will open a bank account that people who want to help can use to transfer some money. Besides that, things like canned food, clothing such as socks, blankets, sleeping bags, and thermal clothing also remain good to give.

Empty houses

The Association of Housing Developers of the Province of Alicante (Provía) has announced that it will make housing available to refugees. The affiliated companies offer homes that are vacant. At the Provía meeting, members decided that they will make accommodations available to governments for use by Ukrainian citizens.

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