AFRICA/MOROCCO - Migrants evicted welcomed in the Cathedral of Tangier

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Rabat (Agenzia Fides) - Several migrants evicted from the apartments they occupied in the district of Bujalef, were welcomed in the Cathedral of Tangier. According to a statement sent to Agenzia Fides, signed by His Exc. Mgr. Santiago Agrelo, Archbishop of Tangiers, "on July 1, the square was opened to accommodate the displaced and made sure that everyone had something to eat". Since then the team of TAM (Tanger Accueille Migrants), of the Diocesan Migration Delegation, which has been taking care of migrants staying in Tangier for years, has taken on the responsibility of the situation, particularly sensitive to the great number of homeless people and without means of support, among whom many women with children.
"An action plan was agreed that gives priority to pregnant women, women with children, single women, and minors. While the first part of the plan was being completed, the men had to wait", the statement said.
This Emergency transformed into an untenable situation because migrants evicted from Bujalef were joined by others who were not in the same situation of need.
"It is not for us to investigate whether these people acted alone or were pushed by those who are interested in taking advantage of the situation through the media", said Mgr. Agrelo. "There was a rumor that the Church was giving shelter and food, and migrants started arriving in the whole city".
"It was necessary to clarify the misunderstanding: not only the churchyard of the Cathedral was closed, but it was not possible to celebrate Mass in the Cathedral itself, on Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning. It was an extremely difficult time for everyone", said the Archbishop.
The Church is offering temporary shelter to 69 women and children and to a widower with two children. There are other 11 women and a widower with three children to accommodate.
In a meeting with the mayor, the Archbishop has agreed on a new action plan: make a list of the people present, and then find urgent accommodation for women who are still on the road. Other migrants will be helped to find accommodation, accompanied by the TAM team to sign the contract and pay the rent. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 08/07/2015)