“This is an unprecedented humanitarian issue in Europe. Thousands, tens of thousands of people are leaving Ukraine. We can expect an influx of refugees in all EU member-states, including Croatia”, Božinović noted.
“The United Nations’ recent projections about up to four million people fleeing Ukraine seems today as a conservative scenario, since the numbers of refugees are already coming close to that figure” the minister told the press after a meeting of the Croatian interdepartmental task force for providing protection for refugees from Ukraine.
“The talks are being conducted at the European level to coordinate the response to many issues stemming from the war in Ukraine”, he said adding that one of the issues is how to finance the accommodation of Ukrainian refugees.
Currently, the EU is offering assistance to the countries neighbouring Ukraine that are the first to receive Ukrainians when they leave their homeland.
Croatia is not among those first-stop countries, however, it is one of the countries where Ukrainians seek shelter, and it is ready to take in roughly 20,000 Ukrainians. However, this figure could go up depending on the developments in Ukraine.
Large majority accommodated individually in private homes
“Of those 8,300 refugees, as many as 7,421 are now covered by individual reception initiatives, and 827 are in collective accommodation”, said the minister.
The aim is to ensure as many individual accommodation options as possible throughout Croatia.
“The reception centres are operating well, refugees come there upon their arrival and after that they are transferred to properties where they can stay longer”, the minister said.
We have published a public call for 10,000 accommodation units throughout Croatia, and all steps we take will be transparent, he said.
Božinović expressed satisfaction with the organisation of the reception of the refugees from Ukraine and explained that the plans were made to be prepared for possible challenges financially, logistics-like and organisationally.
“Croatia wants to provide the best care and sympathy to those people who have experienced the calamities. The help includes not only accommodation and food but also access to education and the labour market as well as to social welfare services”, the minister said recalling that the activation of the Temporary Protection Directive.
Economic and Social Council on including refugees in labour market
Božinović said that the possibility of giving refugees access to the labour market would be on the agenda of the Economic and Social Council (GSV) on Monday.
The fast integration of displaced persons is the best way to provide them with a feeling of stability.
Broken down by the age and gender, a mere 12% of the refugees who have arrived in Croatia from Ukraine are men, 48% are women and children account for 40%, Božinović said.
He also informed the press conference that in the scenario that Croatia should care for 20,000 refugees, this would cost HRK 1.3 billion provided that the refugees exercise all the rights they are entitled to.
According to some estimates, the daily healthcare costs for a refugee is HRK 15, and 30 kuna for education.
Remuneration for the properties which their owners have put at the disposal to refugees is also being considered, and the minister cited the experiences of other countries where the rental per day ranges between €5-8 per person, however, the figure is reduced for every next member in the family accommodated.
Croatian-Ukrainian web portal
The interior ministry has also developed a website with the data in both the Croatian and Ukrainian language concerning the refugees, their rights and entitlements and information for prospective volunteers. The website will be updated regularly on a daily basis.
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