According to the latest figures from the UN, "lmost one child per second in Ukraine is becoming a refugee of the war"

Almost 20,000 Ukrainians protected by Portugal

A third are children, “many arriving” without their parents

In the space of this last heart-rending month Portugal has already granted 19,619 requests for temporary protection for people fleeing Ukraine as a result of the war (see update below).

With the situation in some areas seemingly getting worse by the minute, there is no indication when this refugee flux will end.

The platform is open to all Ukrainian nationals, their families and any other foreign citizen currently residing in Ukraine.

As part of the process of temporary protection, applicants receive access to the Portuguese SNS national health system, and Social Security and fiscal numbers.

Over 3.6 million people have already left Ukraine. Roughly 10 million have been ‘displaced’ within the country.

Today’s news is lurching perilously close to almost every interpretation of ‘meltdown’: according to Ukrainian sources, Russian forces have destroyed a laboratory at the Chernobyl nuclear plant put in place to ‘better manage radioactive residues’.

The plant was constructed with EU money in 2015, and “contained highly active samples and radionuclide samples” that Ukraine sources claim are “now in enemy hands”.

As around 100,000 people, including newborn babies, remain under siege-like conditions in Mariupol (most of them living underground with no access to food or water); a key Russian ‘advisor’ to president Putin has reportedly resigned and “may have left the country”.

Sweden and Finland, which have both taken pains in the past never to show any kind of inclination to join NATO (for fear of Russian reprisals) have both today said they no longer want to remain ‘neutral’ and are studying adhesion to NATO.

Poland has just expelled 45 Russian diplomats for their alleged ‘spying’; Belarus has expelled its Ukrainian diplomats for being “less than friendly” and “interfering” in the country’s affairs; President of the United States Joe Biden meantime continues to stress Russia may resort to the use of chemical weapons – and China apparently insists that Russia remains “an important member of the G20” (this because Western allies are assessing the sense in allowing Russia to remain within the group).

Weeks ago, minister of internal administration Francisca Van Dunem said Portugal was prepared to take tens of thousands of Ukrainians.

It is a very good thing that we are, as these people are running from Europe’s worst nightmare – and right now, today, there seems to be no ‘end’ to it in sight.

Talking to Lusa about the refugee influx until now, SEF inspector Filipe Mimoso has said around a third of all entries have been children, “many accompanied by family members, but without their parents”.

Despite the fact that these children are with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents, the policy is to still consider them “unaccompanied” in legal terms, so that there can be ‘more protection’ given to them.

He said, for the time being, a national map is being created for SEF to be able to pinpoint where all these ‘unaccompanied minors’ are.

UPDATE: Today’s Council of Ministers has approved a decree-law “that establishes measures relating to the recognition of professional qualifications” of incoming refugees, so that they can “exercise their professional activity with celerity, allowing them to ensure their own subsistence”.

The new law applies to “regulated professions whose competent authority for the recognition of qualifications is a service or entity of the direct or indirect administration of the State, or an independent administrative entity, being excluded professions exercised in the scope of the operation, management or maintenance of critical infrastructures and those that imply a serious risk to the security of respective recipients”.

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