A scene from reception and health checks at Rome's Fiumicino airport for approximately 70 people including Italian embassy personnel, other Italians who were in Afghanistan, and 19 Afghans who collaborated with the Italian diplomatic corps, August 16, 2021 | Photo: ANSA/DEFENCE MINISTRY PRESS OFFICE
A scene from reception and health checks at Rome's Fiumicino airport for approximately 70 people including Italian embassy personnel, other Italians who were in Afghanistan, and 19 Afghans who collaborated with the Italian diplomatic corps, August 16, 2021 | Photo: ANSA/DEFENCE MINISTRY PRESS OFFICE

From Milan to Rome, various Italian mayors of all political stripes have shown their willingness to welcome refugees fleeing Afghanistan, in particular those who collaborated with Italy.

From Milan to Rome, from Bolzano to San Giorgio a Cremano, from Ferrara to Bari: numerous mayors of all political stripes in recent days have shown their willingness to welcome refugees fleeing from Afghanistan, which is now back in the hands of the Taliban.

It is a race for support that has featured the first citizens of many Italian cities in recent days, starting with Milan.

Since the initial hours of the crisis, Milan Mayor Giuseppe Sala has expressed the city's willingness to welcome refugees.

In Rome, Mayor Virginia Raggi said she will make city facilities available for the reception of refugees.

Raggi highlighted that it is "essential that the whole country is mobilized in this direction".

First Afghans arriving in Milan

The first refugee families are arriving in Milan. As Mayor Sala explained, "a few dozen Afghan citizens with their families will reach our city."

These are citizens who have collaborated with the Italian armed forces, the Italian embassy and the Italian Agency for Development Cooperation in Afghanistan.

The City of Milan, together with the prefecture and third-sector associations, is locating suitable places to host Afghan citizens who will apply for refugee status. Sala said these places "cannot be improvised but must be equipped with the appropriate basic services for hosting families."

Eight women doctors who worked at the Center for Breast Cancer Diagnosis in Herat, sponsored by the Umberto Veronesi Foundation, are also arriving in Milan along with their families, with a total of 13 children in all. The Foundation has made it known that, with the help of the City of Milan, they will find accommodation for the doctors and their families.

Other cities ready to accommodate

Rome is also ready to do its part, by using social service facilities and putting the network of solidarity hotels into action. In Ferrara, right-wing League party mayor Alan Fabbri said he is ready to welcome the refugees arriving from the humanitarian crisis.

Bari Mayor Antonio Decaro, who is also the president of the National Association of Italian Municipalities (ANCI), offered his city's willingness along with other ANCI cities to "expand the Reception and Integration System (SAI) network, in terms of providing specific places for Afghan collaborators and their families."

Sixty Afghans and their families are already being hosted at the Colle Isarco quarantine facility in South Tyrol.

They were collaborators with Italian companies and the Italian embassy in Afghanistan who have fled from Kabul.

 

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