Greece approves crisis fund for Romani settlements during COVID-19
According to NGOs involved with the Roma Civil Monitor project, organized by the Center for Policy Studies at Central European University, the Greek Interior Ministry annouced on 27 March that the Government had allocated EUR 2.25 million to protect endangered Romani residents of segregated encampments and settlements in association with the COVID-19 pandemic. In order to implement the necessary measures, 98 municipalities will be receiving subsidies of between EUR 5 000 and 6 0000.
From those subsidies local governments will be able to afford to disinfect those locations, both inside residences and in shared exterior spaces, to run an information campaign about the consequences of catching COVID-19, and to arrange for potable water and any other preventive resources necessary to secure the protection of public health. Prior to the crisis fund being approved, some municipalities had taken their own steps to protect groups in the population who are most vulnerable to the deadly virus.
For example, Vice-Mayor Kostas Gerolymatos of Chalandri (population 75 000), along with Romani mediator Elena Desiotou, visited the local Romani settlement and informed its inhabitants about different aspects of COVID-19 infection and the necessary preventive and quarantine measures. A municipal social grocery shop distributes food, protective gear and disinfectants there.
Chalandri's local assembly has offered to relocate some inhabitants into social housing, depending on available capacity, and also is taking charge of demolishing abandoned shelters and disinfecting their surroundings. Local assembly members on the island of Crete have also disinfected settlements, equipped them with sanitation resources, and launched an information campaign about preventing the disease and its symptoms.
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