Medical staff members from the AFMA association of the Fatebenefratelli hospital conducting checkups for child refugees from Ukraine at the church of Santa Sofia, in Rome | PHOTO: Giuseppe Lami / ANSA
Medical staff members from the AFMA association of the Fatebenefratelli hospital conducting checkups for child refugees from Ukraine at the church of Santa Sofia, in Rome | PHOTO: Giuseppe Lami / ANSA

The Italian government has allocated €428 million to help with the reception of those fleeing the conflict in Ukraine, most of whom are currently housed by relatives or acquaintances.

As the arrival of Ukrainian refugees in Italy begins to stablize in terms of the numbers of arrivals, government funds too are starting to find their way to those who need them. Some of the funds will be allocated to those who are being lodged in private accommodation, and to help the families who are hosting Ukrainians as well as local bodies involved in migrant reception.

So far, the Italian government has allocated €428 million for the reception of Ukrainian refugees.The Civil Protection Department is now working on regulations to ensure that the money goes to help those in need in the long term after an initial period of generous but fragmentary humanitarian aid.

UN figures show that at least 3.8 million people have fled the conflict thus far. Some 71,940 people have arrived in Italy to date: 37,082 women, 6,661 men, and 28,197 minors. At the beginning of the conflict, over 3,000 people were arriving in Italy from Ukraine every day, but now the numbers have slowed. On Monday 28, the authorities registered 1,156 arrivals.

The interior ministry has said that the most popular destinations for Ukrainian arrivals continue to be the big cities, Milan, Rome, Naples, and Bologna. These cities also have Italy's largest Ukrainian communities, which numbers around 250,000 across the country as a whole.

Most stay with people they know

The vast majority of the refugees are being lodged with relatives or acquaintances, while some have been hosted by families that have offered to help out privately or through volunteer associations.

There are also some Ukrainians who are being lodged by interior ministry reception centers, the services at which have been stepped up in view of the current situation.There is thus a wide range of different types of accommodation being used and which the Civil Protection Department is currently regulating.

One of the jobs of the Civil Protection regulation will be to decide on which different types of reception qualify people for different levels of living expenses. The authorities have indicated that payments will be in line with those paid out to Italians who were displaced after an earthquake hit central Italy in 2009. It is expected that payments will cover up to 60,000 people for a period of three months following their entry into Italy, up to the end of December this year.

Maximum payments would amount to around €600 per month, or €900 for a family. The Italian authorities issued a special "Ukraine decree" which has created up to 15,000 additional reception places with support from the tertiary sector and religious institutions. When someone is housed in these kinds of communal reception centers, the authorities expect to pay out about €30 per person per day.

Families "certified" by volunteer associations such as Caritas (the Catholic Church charity) will also receive support covering the expenses involved in hosting the refugees.

The Italian government will allocate €152 million to regional governments throughout 2022, to help with granting access to national healthcare services. These payments will be in proportion to the number of Ukrainians being hosted in any region and will cover up to 100,000 people.

Regional governments and civil protection working together

The government of Emilia Romagna Stefano Bonaccini has said that there will be a meeting this week between regional governments and the Civil Protection chief Fabrizio Curcio to take stock of the situation regarding refugee reception.

"I have asked the [central] government and they listened," Bonaccini said. "On the one hand we asked for economic contributions to families hosting Ukrainians, since if this network were to fail, there would be problems. And then we asked - and were listened to - for a larger minimum average contribution for every person hosted in special reception facilities."

Now, in light of the act that the government and the civil protection is introducing, Bonaccini added, "there will be a request for contributions for local bodies, linked to the issue of integration."

Unaccompanied minors --277 according to the latest figures from the interior ministry-- will be dealt with separately. Bologna Prefect Francesca Ferrandino has been asked to coordinate efforts to protect and care for these vulnerable refugees. Two thirds of whom have been placed in families authorized by the children's court, while a third are staying in approved facilities.

Author: Massimo Nesticò


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