Portugal takes more Afghan refugees

86 Afghan refugees now in Portugal

Afghan refugees arriving at an airport

JM on the mainland reports that Portugal will receive today about 20 more Afghan refugees who will join the 66 Afghan citizens who are already in national territory, said the Minister of the Presidency, Mariana Vieira da Silva.

“We have received 66 Afghan refugees so far and today a group of around 20 people will arrive. And, therefore, we will already have a significant number”, said the minister, in Guarda.

The minister was speaking to journalists on the sidelines of the public session for the signing of the financing contract for the New Generation of Social Equipment and Responses, within the scope of the Recovery and Resilience Plan, between the Social Security Institute and the Recuperar Portugal Mission Structure, which also it was attended by the minister of Labour, Solidarity and Social Security, Ana Mendes Godinho, and the Secretary of State for Social Action, Rita Mendes.

According to the government official, the Afghan refugees who arrived in Portugal are currently concentrated in two centres and in due course will be processed.

“We have, at this moment, an emergency situation, we have to wait for people to arrive so that we can complete their profiles. They are currently in two centres in a more centralized way, and then move on to more stable reception solutions. This is the work being done”, he explained.

Mariana Vieira da Silva said that people “came tired” because “the days were very difficult until we left Afghanistan”.

“[Now] is the time to welcome them… to give them a framework of stability and peace, so that we can continue with the welcome that should already be directed according to their characteristics (…) to try to find the best way to welcome them in Portugal”, he continued.

Many City Councils, social sector institutions, civil society organizations and also many families were willing “not only to host but also to contribute to making the host more successful. “This is an excellent sign that our country is giving at this difficult time and, now, it is time to get down to work on this reception”, admitted the Minister of the Presidency.

Afghan refugees to be distributed nationwide

Refugees can be distributed among the various responses found in the territory, according to the profiles of each one, and their departure from the reception centres depends on interviews and on the “situation assessment”.

“But we are able to quickly start this process. It does not mean that it is done at the same time for all people. The important thing is to create good conditions for reception and integration and that is what we are working on”, he guaranteed.

Also according to the minister, there is the prospect of Portugal receiving more Afghan refugees who worked either in the programs of the European Union or NATO and also through organizations that are in the territory and international partners.

“Right now, we have the capacity to receive more than 400 people. Now, we know that the most difficult point at the moment is not the reception, it is what is happening on the ground, in Afghanistan. And so this is where further limitations can arise. We will continue to monitor, available to welcome, to integrate, together with the whole of society”, he said.

According to the latest figures, around 114,000 people have been evacuated from Kabul since the Taliban took the city, in around 2,900 on military or international coalition flights.

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