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The Belgian authorities are working closely together to ensure coordinated crisis management


The war in Ukraine and its consequences in Belgium require the coordinated action of many Belgian authorities and public services at a federal, regional and municipal level. In particular in terms of reception and support for the thousands of people who have fled Ukraine. What are these many actions? Below is an overview of the different initiatives undertaken since the start of the conflict.

1. Registration

When people fleeing Ukraine arrive in Belgium, they can apply for "temporary protection" status. To do so, they must register at the registration centre in Brussels with the Immigration Office of FPS Home Affairs. The latter ensures the smooth implementation of their registration and provides them with all the necessary documents. Thanks to this registration, they are provided with a temporary protection status, which grants them rights comparable to those of EU citizens.

In total, the Immigration Office has already issued more than 41,000 temporary protection status authorisations to people who have fled Ukraine.

2. Accommodation

After registration, Fedasil refers temporarily displaced persons requiring accommodation to available housing. These are listed in a database which has been compiled in collaboration with all the municipalities in the country. People are housed either in collective housing (where several families share the premises) or with host families, Belgian citizens who, to show their solidarity, have made a home or a room available to these people. Finally, some of the refugees will not require this since they will be hosted by families or friends residing in our country.

In total, Fedasil has referred more than 12,000 people to reception facilities.

In the long term, accommodation with a host family is often not the best solution. As a result, the regional services in Brussels, Wallonia and Flanders, as well as cities and municipalities, are organising themselves in order to be able to offer long-term housing to people who need it. These are dwellings which are currently unoccupied, office buildings that can be reused, other individual or collective housing units, and even alternative solutions (for example, the Flemish Region has created two prefabricated villages). This supply of long-term housing also implies the need to structure this reception, and the regional authorities are developing a framework to guarantee the safety and hygiene of housing.

3. Support and protection

People fleeing Ukraine have experienced great trauma. Not only have they been forced to leave their country at war, but they also find themselves in a country they do not know. To support these people, the various authorities have set up a host of initiatives to provide the necessary psychosocial assistance. There are telephone numbers which these people can use to obtain help in their own language, information translated into Ukrainian and Russian, etc.

Initiatives are also planned for host families to provide them with psychosocial support. Welcoming strangers from a war-torn country into your home is not something to be taken lightly.

The Federal Public Health Service has listed all these initiatives and they can be found here: https://info-ukraine.be/fr/aide-en-belgique/soutien-et-protection-psychosociaux.

The most vulnerable refugees, especially unaccompanied minors, are entitled to the support of a guardian. Since the start of the crisis, the Guardianship Service of the FPS Justice has ensured that more than 700 minors were assigned a guardian as soon as possible. This guardian is the minor's legal representative and is responsible for his or her well-being and safety.

4. Access to social assistance

People fleeing Ukraine can apply for "temporary protection" status. In our country, this implies an increase in the demand for assistance for finding work, housing, education, etc.

The various federal, community and regional services have taken steps to offer this assistance to people from Ukraine in an appropriate manner, and continue to guarantee assistance services for any other people concerned. Ukrainians with temporary protection status are entitled to an equivalent living allowance.

You can find more information on this subject on the reference site info-ukraine.be and on the sites of the various federated entities.

5. Medical evacuation

As a result of the conflict, some healthcare can no longer be provided in Ukraine. Therefore, Belgium welcomes patients in order to provide them with appropriate medical treatment in a safe environment. Belgium's involvement also helps prevent overloading hospitals in European countries neighbouring Ukraine. Belgium, via B-FAST, in cooperation with local authorities and NGOs, has organised the evacuation of specific groups of people such as children with cancer.  

6. Humanitarian aid

Under the coordination of the FPS Foreign Affairs, B-Fast is also sending emergency equipment such as tents, blankets, food and generators to Ukraine and neighbouring countries that are hosting a large number of refugees.

Since the start of the war in Ukraine, financial contributions have also been allocated to several development cooperation partner organisations (FPS Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation) active in Ukraine to deal with the dramatic effects of the war on the civilian population, including ICRC, OCHA and UNICEF.

7. Information

The authorities collect and pass on a great deal of information to people arriving from Ukraine as well as to other players, such as host families. For example, a leaflet containing information on the first steps to be taken on arrival in Belgium (residence permit, housing, work and social rights) is distributed at the registration centre in Brussels.

The website info-ukraine.be is the reference site for Belgians who want to make a contribution, for Cities and municipalities, as well as for Ukrainian refugees themselves. The most important information is translated into Ukrainian and Russian, the two languages most commonly used by people from Ukraine.

The federated entities have also developed reference websites. Citizens, cities and municipalities, as well as people who have fled Ukraine and who are living in their areas, can find useful information about the support available to them: 

Finally, cities and municipalities often also have content on their websites for citizens and people they welcome.

A weekly report on the evolution of the situation is published on info-ukraine.be by Fedasil, the Immigration Office and the Belgian Statistics Office (Statbel), which also publishes daily figures on the reception of foreigners on its website: https://statbel.fgov.be/en/visuals/displaced_persons_Ukraine.

8. Support at local level

Many cities and municipalities are greatly involved in receiving and providing accommodation for refugees. To that end, they have verified the places available in their territory and ensure the warmest possible welcome. They coordinate voluntary work at a local level and are the first point of contact not only for people who have fled Ukraine, but also for people involved in receiving refugees if they have questions or experience any difficulties or problems. The Regions also play an important role in supporting local authorities.

Provincial Governors also act as an information hub for the national, regional and municipal authorities.

9. Coordination

Since the start of the crisis, the National Crisis Center has been working with all partners to ensure that registration, reception and other forms of support are organised in the best way possible. This organisation is as follows: 

  • First of all, the assessment unit (Celeval) continuously monitors the situation. In particular, this unit estimates the number of people who will come to Belgium as refugees and the needs they will have. On the basis of these forecasts, the other partners can organise themselves to provide the necessary reception places, the staff to ensure registration, etc.
  • The Management Unit or Federal Coordination Committee (COFECO) brings together representatives of the various departments and authorities involved and ensures that each partner is able to act in the best way possible to ensure its missions, based on Celeval's estimates and feedback from players in the field.
  • The National Logistics Hub (NatLogHub) supports the various partners in developing emergency housing capacity by drawing up - in collaboration with experts in the field - tailored plans and processes for emergency shelter facilities, identifying potential locations for these facilities, and providing logistical support for their setting up and operation. The NCCN brings the various partners to the table and facilitates cooperation among all those concerned.
  • The National Crisis Center has developed the Housing Tool through which local authorities can record available places for crisis accommodation. This database is used by Fedasil to direct people who have fled Ukraine and requiring shelter to municipal accommodation facilities.
  • Finally, the information cell (Infocel) brings together the communication units of the services involved in order to exchange and coordinate the authorities' communication actions.

The federated entities also have dedicated coordination units in which they bring together the various services concerned at the regional level in order to coordinate regional actions, identify problems and find solutions, etc.

10. Active participation of a multitude of public organisations

 Many other Belgian authorities also contribute, within the frame of their competences, to supporting Ukrainians arriving in Belgium or monitoring the conflict. For example, Civil Protection provides logistical support, in particular for the acquisition and transport of material for Fedasil and the Immigration Office, among other things, the Defence Department makes available its military hospital for the wounded, FPS Economy is in charge of steering and coordinating the agro-food task force, FPS Mobility manages the registration of vehicles in Belgium and driving licence recognition, and the FASFC is responsible for the reception of pets. Finally, the Federal Agency for Nuclear Control (FANC) continues to closely monitor the situation at nuclear sites in Ukraine.