The Portuguese government will provide free communications to refugees from Ukraine for three months under a collaboration agreement with the Association of Electronic Communications Operators.
Portugal’s government will provide free communications to refugees from Ukraine for three months under a collaboration agreement with the Association of Electronic Communications Operators and companies in the sector, announced on Thursday.
According to a statement issued by the minister of parliamentary affairs, Ana Catarina Mendes, the government signed “a collaboration agreement with the Association of Electronic Communications Operators (APRITEL) and its associates MEO, NOS and Vodafone, as well as with the operator NOWO, for the allocation of electronic communications services to beneficiaries of temporary protection from Ukraine, in Portugal.
According to the government, “citizens of legal age will have access, every month (for 3 months)” to “500 minutes of voice communications to national fixed and mobile networks, 200 minutes of voice communications to fixed and mobile networks of Ukraine, 5 GB of data communications and 10 GB of data communications” for messaging applications.
Sixteen thousand communication cards will be distributed to Ukrainian refugees from operators Altice, NOS, Vodafone (five thousand each) and NOWO (one thousand), which can be picked up at the shops identified by the companies upon presentation of the identification document and process number assigned by the Portuguese Immigration and Borders Service (SEF) and the completion of a declaration, explains the statement from the office of Minister Ana Catarina Mendes.
“The government aims to facilitate and promote the communication of Ukrainian citizens with their country of origin and their reception process in Portugal,” the minister said.
On Monday, the SEF announced that Portugal had accepted 31,543 requests for temporary protection from Ukrainian citizens and foreigners residing in that country since the beginning of the Russian offensive in Ukraine on February 24.
According to the SEF, among the more than 31,000 requests for temporary protection, 21,220 were women and 10,323 men, with 11,024 minors among the population who requested protection from Portugal and received a positive response.
On February 24, Russia launched a military offensive in Ukraine that has killed more than 2,000 civilians, according to UN data, which warns that the real number is likely to be much higher.
According to the latest UN data, the military offensive has already caused more than 12 million people to flee, more than 5 million of them out of the country, the worst refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War (1939-1945).