Royal couple offers property to Ukrainian refugees

King Philip and Queen Mathilde of Belgium have decided to make two homes available for Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion. It was officially confirmed on Wednesday.

According to the announcement, the couple will provide two homes that can accommodate three refugee families. These are residences in real estate belonging to the Royal Donation, a trust that manages the royal real estate available to the state.

“This is a home that was originally intended to be made available to social institutions to accommodate low-income people, and is a mission that closely matches what we want to achieve with the Royal Donation,” Royal said.・ Donation’s president, Jan Smetz, explained. However, “in light of the refugee crisis, we will make these houses available for emergency reception.”

“These are single-family homes and will be available in early April. It’s time to offer them and do a small job,” Smets added.

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine and the arrival of Ukrainians fleeing their country in Belgium, the royal couple have already met refugees in Brussels.

Last week, Philip and Matilde took Sammy Mahdi to Molenbeek for the Secretary of State’s asylum and migration, and went to a former Sebrecht care facility that turned into an emergency refugee reception.

On Wednesday afternoon, King Philip visited the Ukrainian Refugee Registration Center in Heisel, where he met his family who had fled the war.

According to figures recorded by UNHCR (UN), the royal couple’s acceptance of refugees is due to the escape of more than 3 million Ukrainians from their country due to the Russian invasion. About 2000 people arrive in Belgium every day.

The royal historian Vincent Dujardin said the king “has given a strong welcoming signal to the Belgian people.” It is “putting your money where your mouth is” and “guided by an example”.

This is not the first time a Belgian sovereign has decided to accept refugees. At the end of 2009, Prince Albert II and Queen Paola announced that they would like to make a donated apartment available to the homeless at the Cielnyon Royal Palace near Rochefort.

The former military police barracks in Cielnyon’s mansion were redeveloped in February 2010 and were home to a family of four Afghans, including two children. At that time, there was talk of developing a second apartment in Ciel Nyon.

More recently, following bad weather and floods in the summer of 2021, royal donations have made housing available to victims. “After the renovation, we made the free-use homes of the Ardennes social institutions in the areas of Wier and Rochefort urgently available to accommodate the victims,” recalls Jan Smets. Royal couple offers property to Ukrainian refugees

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