Kyiv criticises Lucerne plan to house refugees in bunkers
A close advisor to the Ukrainian President has criticised the Swiss city of Lucerne for housing Ukrainian refugees in mass accommodation facilities like bunkers, civil protection units and large halls. The Ukrainian government has called on the canton to house Ukrainian refugees in private accommodation instead.
Lucerne the only Swiss canton to house Ukrainian refugees in bunkers and halls
Currently, Lucerne is the only canton that is housing newly arrived refugees in mass accommodation. This includes large halls like the Allmend stadium and civil protection facilities like bunkers, where hundreds of people can be accommodated at one time.
Speaking to 20 minuten, a close advisor to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Tetiana Lomakina, said that while "Ukraine is sincerely grateful to the governments and citizens of many foreign countries for granting protection and help to Ukrainians who had to flee their homeland due to the Russian invasion," she is irritated by the policy of mass accommodation and instead called for refugees to be held in Swiss houses and apartments.
The advisor, who is responsible for opening humanitarian corridors and evacuating cities in Ukraine, praised Swiss residents who were willing to house refugees, saying that when housed privately, “our citizens can feel safe and recover from the horrors of war, which are often marked by long days and nights in bomb shelters, fearing for their lives."
Mass accommodation helps Ukrainians establish communities, Lucerne says
As of April 11, 541 Ukrainian refugees are currently staying in collective accommodation in Canton Lucerne, with 571 people in private homes. Many families in Switzerland have been helping Ukrainian refugees integrate, such as by assisting them in securing residence permits, jobs and healthcare.
In response to the criticism, Silvia Bolliger, head of the Asylum and Refugee Office in Lucerne, said that mass accommodation helps the refugees establish their own communities. "You are with people who speak the same language as you and have had similar experiences," she noted.