The SOS Ukraine-Montpellier association has just received support from the Montpellier-Russia association.
Symbols are important. This one is particularly so. The Montpellier-Russia association announces “support and contribute” to the new association SOS Ukraine-Montpellier, created to help Ukrainian refugees arriving in the metropolis.
“Our association does not do politics, it is cultural. We are not here to give it a political line”immediately announces Serge Jullian, president of Montpellier-Russia. “We are going to mobilize to welcome Ukrainian families who arrive and will arrive in the Metropolis, continues Serge Jullian. We place ourselves as an information relay in relation to SOS Ukraine-Montpellier. We will also be looking for accommodation.”
In addition to this priority of housing, the members of the Montpellier-Russia association indicate that they make themselves available, in particular, “to give French lessons. We have a Russian teacher who is Ukrainian. She offers to help with the translation and give lessons in French as a foreign language.”
History repeating itself
On the subject of the conflict affecting these two neighboring peoples linked by history, Serge Jullian admits to having “this feeling that history is repeating itself “. The latter also notes a change in attitude on the part of some. “We feel it, there can be verbal aggression towards Russians“ since the start of the war. “ We try not to put everyone in the same basket.“
And to conclude: “ATWithin our association, there are Ukrainians as well as Russians. Everyone is affected. Our actions and cultural exchanges are real vectors of understanding, harmony, friendship and peace between peoples.“
The first convoy left for Ukraine
The very first convoy of humanitarian aid chartered by the Region left, Saturday, March 12 in the morning, from Toulouse via Montpellier for Ukraine. Four heavyweights lent by apprenticeship high schools in Occitanie with apprentice drivers and teachers, loaded with donations.
The convoy stopped in front of the town hall around noon, where four vans from the Métropole were waiting. To drive them, volunteer drivers from different city departments.
Sébastien and Christophe are working on the protocol: “We have been preparing the trip for four days with SOS Ukraine, care equipment and food”. A total of 41 people are taking part in the trip, which is expected to take two days to reach the border. Elected officials and supporters gathered around the mayor Michaël Delafosse, to attend the start, under the horns.
First emergency accommodation is being organized little by little
Sixteen days after the invasion of Ukraine by the Russian army, the first refugees arrived in Montpellier last week. Emergency accommodation is being organized, a little forceps: “We have a responsibility in terms of welcoming refugees, underlined, Saturday, March 12, Michaël Delafosse in town hall. Thank you to the association SOS Ukraine, to the elected officials who are mobilizing to find housing capacity, host families”.
The city councilor, however, expects a massive influx of refugees in the coming weeks: “Yesterday evening (Friday), we opened a gymnasium to be a welcome point. Generosity must continue, the hours are dark and serious, it will last. We have to protect the Ukrainians.”
Delay in regularizations
Sophie Mazas, lawyer for the Human Rights League in Montpellier, comments: “SOS Ukraine at the Maison des Relations Internationale (MRI) registered 200 requests this week. We were waiting for the opening of a collective reception area It’s done, 25 places are available at the Gambardella gymnasium and a medico-social assessment is in place”.
Regarding the implementation of European temporary protection, the lawyer wants to be cautious: “Registration is done through SOS Ukraine. The summons to the prefecture to regularize the status is supposed to be done within two or three days. There is a week of accumulated delay, with a flow of 30 people per day”.
In the meantime, Ukrainian arrivals have therefore benefited since yesterday from a first collective accommodation, before longer-term accommodation through the Gammes and Singa associations. “We are relieved, welcome Lyudmyla Tsivka and Anastasiya Galinier from the SOS Ukraine Montpellier office. People were staying with locals. It’s over, for security reasons”. The two leaders insist: “SOS Ukraine takes care of everything, statutes, accommodation, etc.”