The Ukrainians who arrived in Tarragona with the war begin to settle in the city
Since the war began in the city, 292 people from Ukraine have been registered (who have come to join the 389 who already lived here). Of all these new registered citizens, the vast majority, 241, have been attended to at the Punt Informatiu Municipal d'asil i refugi, PIMAR, which the Tarragona City Council launched in March; barely a month after the start of the conflict.
Lila Messibah, coordinator of PIMAR, explains that since they began to arrive until now, the demands of these citizens have changed a lot. At first, they arrived together with the families that welcomed them "because they did not know what to do" and they needed to carry out basic procedures such as the children's schooling; always with the idea that it would be a temporary situation and that they would return to their country shortly.
Now, however, the requests are different and most have to do with what they need to establish themselves more permanently in the city: they are very interested in language courses, especially Catalan, in order to be able to work. People are also arriving who want to know how to homologate their titles, for example.
One of the most frequent queries has to do with housing. Many do not get rent or need to move house because they cannot continue paying the amounts they paid at the beginning, when they thought it would be a temporary situation. Faced with this situation, they have seen families of two or three people who get together on the same floor.
There are also those who have decided to stay in the city permanently and for this reason they resign from the Program for the Reception and Integration of People Applicants for International Protection of the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration and managed by Creu Roja.
There is also the difficulty, explains the Messibah, that there are people who are in homes that are not in their name, which makes it difficult to carry out almost any procedure.
Participate in the life of the city
Paula Varas, councilor of Nova Ciutadania, explains that this change in the perspective of the Ukrainian people who have come is evident even in their interest in participating in the life of the city. He gives the example of the Associació d'Ucraïnesos de Tarragona, which, if at first it was focused on organizing activities to raise funds and material for its compatriots in Ukraine, is now more dedicated to the situation of those who are here «but, above all , to show their culture and traditions”, as happened in the I Congrés de Migració i Interculturalitat del Camp de Tarragona that was held last month and in which they played a very active role. They have also asked to be part of the city's Intercultural Taula and other fairs such as Christmas.
Although the number of citizens arriving is far from what it was at the beginning of the war, they have never stopped coming and the number is expected to increase with the arrival of the cold.
Maria Kupriyenko, PIMAR's translator, gives an example: her cousin's children stayed at her house for a while and then returned to Ukraine. Now, surely, they will return. "The situation is unsustainable, the temperature is dropping quite a bit and they only have four hours of electricity a day," she says.
The data also support their perception of what is coming. According to INE data, in the province of Tarragona as a whole the trend is upward. If in August the arrival of 93 people had been registered, in September there were already 260.
One stop shop
One of the great advantages of the service, explains Varas, is that it has allowed extensive coordination throughout the territory with both administrations and entities, which means that users have avoided having to knock on doors here and there. Here it is equally helpful to keep track of documents and to look for work.
For this, Kupriyenko's work has been decisive, since he not only works at PIMAR, but also accompanies those who need it to carry out procedures. He gives the case of an elderly woman who had gone to the CAP on several occasions because she needed treatment for her diabetes. Thanks to the intermediary of the interpreter, she was able to be understood.
124 of other nationalities
It must be remembered that this is a service for asylum and refugee seekers of any nationality, although the arrival of the Ukrainians has been the one that has given the definitive impetus. In fact, since its launch, 124 people of other nationalities have already passed through. The main ones are Colombia, Venezuela and Cuba, although more recently people have begun to arrive from Russia, especially men who do not want to be called up by the army.
One of the values of PIMAR is that since it was launched it has had the work of different entities that are in charge of the attention to migrants and that take care of the attention one day a week. There is also collaboration with all the departments of the City Council.
Varas explains that both the hiring of the service coordinator and the translator have been made possible thanks to funding from the Generalitat and, at the moment, the project only runs until December. However, he points out, the volume of attention they have provided so far has more than demonstrated that it is a necessary service, so the intention is to maintain it.
They are currently working on monitoring the Ukrainians who have been assisted to find out about their situation, especially work. They are also compiling the data of the possible beneficiaries of the aid that the Government has announced for vulnerable families in Ukraine and that consists of 400 euros plus 100 euros per child per month. The intention is to have everything to be able to process it as soon as it starts up.
This year, 292 people from Ukraine, 117 men and 175 women, have registered in the city. Most of them are young people. The average age of the women is 31 years and that of the men is 22.59. 34% of the new voters are between 0 and 15 years old. Only 9% are 60 years or older.