Eighty-nine Syrian refugees affected by the earthquake in Turkey and Syria arrived yesterday at the Torrejón de Ardoz air base (Madrid) to be received by Spain.
These people also have the status of refugees from the Syrian war, informed the Minister of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, José Luis Escrivá, who received them, together with the Secretary of State for Migration, Isabel Castro.
Welcoming them is “the best way for Spain to show solidarity, both for the refugees from the war and for those who have been affected by this enormous drama”, said the minister, who said that these people will go to resources of the Social Security system in eleven Spanish provinces.
Specifically, the reception destinations are Álava, Guadalajara, Málaga, Pontevedra, Seville, Soria, Tarragona, Valencia, Valladolid, Zaragoza and the Principality of Asturias. The 89 refugees (47 men and 42 women) are families made up of parents and children, with a total of 16 family units, five of them single-parent families made up of a single mother with dependent minors; of the total number of resettled people, 43 are minors (18 of them under 10 years old), reports Efe.
Escrivá affirmed that the Spanish government has worked “intensely” to carry out the mission and was pleased that Spain is “the first country in Europe to take in refugees at this time”. He also thanked the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), who were present at the reception, for their work in coordinating an operation that was carried out in “record” time.
The refugees were in an area of Turkey bordering Syria, and a dozen institutions, organisations and entities were involved in the transfer process, in addition to the Ministry of Inclusion, which coordinated the entire process from their arrival to their subsequent transfer to the reception centres.
Escrivá also highlighted the work of different ministries that have participated in the process, such as the Ministry of the Interior, with the presence of different units at the landing of the refugees; the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which has carried out “excellent work” at the Istanbul Consulate, which “has speeded up all the procedures”; and the Ministry of Defence, which has provided the Torrejón de Ardoz air base for the arrival of these people.
In response to questions from journalists, Escrivá explained that the initial plan was to receive 129 people, but that for various reasons 89 have arrived in the end, which is why the ministry will work on a second contingent “as soon as the conditions are right” to bring in more people.
At the same time, he specified that, in addition to providing a housing alternative for the refugees, they will also be given legal and psychosocial support. According to data from the Ministry of Inclusion, Social Security and Migration, Spain has resettled 3,408 people since 2016, more than 80% of whom are Syrian. In 2022, 1,112 people have been resettled, 1,045 Syrians, while, as of today, 1,294 Syrians are being cared for in the reception system, 1,187 of whom have arrived under national resettlement programmes.