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

Since Wednesday, March 16, 2022, “Accueil Ukraine” has moved to the Porte de Versailles fairgrounds. (© MAM / Paris News)

“He children trust while playing. I do not see no of tears, but small words that reveal the traumas that have passed. »At the only reception point for Ukrainian refugees a Parisat the Porte de Versailles trade fair since mid-March 2022, hundreds of professionals have been guiding and supporting war-torn families living in their country since 24 February.

“This is the first time in history that temporary protection has been established”

The reception point is full. By 9 a.m., the queue is long enough to get there one stop shop constituted by the State and supervised by associations such as France Terre d’Asile, Coallia, the Red Cross and the Salvation Army.

Families come directly from the Eastern Railway Station. First, they register at the Police Headquarters and then at the French Immigration and Integration Office (OFII).

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

“This way they can benefit from the temporary protection reserved for Ukrainian nationals, specifies Helene Soupios-David director of law of France Terre d’Asile. This is the first time in history that this device has been launched, it was created as a result of the conflict in the territory of the ancient Yugoslavia then the crisis of Kosovo but it was never activated. »

This measure allows them to obtain a residence permit automatic for six months, renewable for up to three years. They also benefit from the authorization to carry out a professional activity, access to accommodation, social assistance, medical care, the education and training system and to obtain family reunification.

And to answer theirs needs the majority elementary, every adult can perceive 400 euros allowed. An amount that varies depending on the number of dependent children. Every day, 300 provisional authorizations stay are assigned to this center. For Ukrainians who do not have their identity documents, “it’s the case.” They are granted a residence permit for a month while waiting to prove their identity.

“Ile-de-France is saturated”

Then, if they need accommodation, they are oriented according to the places available.

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“In most cases, people are relocated region. Ille-de-France is saturated but the mobilization East immense in the rest of the territory, ”says Hélène Soupios-David. Therefore, they are sent to the South or the North depending on the accommodation offered by the prefectures and on a voluntary basis.

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

“In this unprecedented context, we have had to deal with an unexpected event: the families took their animals of company, she describes. In this situation, traveling with an animal is very complex, you need a lot of paperwork, but in this particular case there had to be a relaxation. So the associations adapted and provided food to accommodate them cats and the dogs who traveled with their masters.

440 accommodation places

In the event that the process is prolonged, there are 440 picket places available, “one evening we reached a peak of 400 occupied beds,” he says. Nordin Sedkaoui, director of the territorial unit of Paris de Coallia. “Despite our fears of being overwhelmed, this is still not the case,” he said.

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

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

Nordin SedkaouiDirector of the Paris Territorial Unit of Coallia

“I don’t see any tears”

In the children’s space, Katarina, a Ukrainian woman who has lived in France for 20 years, cares for the little ones. “I try to give them what they need. Food, health is important but just as important listen to them and it’s harder for them to express themselves with their parents “, says the woman who works in a nursery school in Paris.

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

” I do not see no of tearsbut small words that reveal the trauma that happened. They can draw and go out on a train and the next time the train following them exploded for example. »

Since the opening of this reception center, almost 6,000 people were taken care of and 1,900 he slept there. “Essentially women, of all generations. We had the case of a lady from 90 years that he landed in Beauvais and that, in shock, he didn’t even remember how he had managed to get here, ”says Hélène Soupios-David before confiding that it was the largest refugee flow he has ever seen.

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