Mônica Bergamo: World Cup increases flow of Afghan refugees in Guarulhos, says secretary


The hosting of the World Cup in Qatar and the increase in the number of flights from the Middle East has inflated the number of Afghan refugees disembarking at Guarulhos International Airport — and who sometimes have nowhere else to go.

According to the secretary of Development and Social Assistance of Guarulhos, Fábio Cavalcante, an average of 30 Afghan migrants arrive in Brazil daily. Currently, there are around 287 of them camped on a mezzanine floor in Terminal 2 at the airport awaiting reception.

“There were four daily flights, now it has tripled”, says the head of the portfolio. “The unpredictability is what makes planning most difficult. Guarulhos does not know how many people arrive per day. Some days 80 arrive, some days none arrive”, he continues.

Cavalcante says that he has had the support of the federal government for technical issues, but that he would like to see him more active in managing the humanitarian crisis that has been dragging on for months.

“Guarulhos’ claim is that the Ministry of Citizenship really takes ownership of the demand and plays a leading role in this entire operation. This is not a problem for Guarulhos, it’s for Brazil”, he says.

The head of the Development and Social Assistance portfolio says that the work of civil society organizations has been very important in the process of welcoming the Afghans, and that donations have multiplied after the repercussion of their situation in the press.

To the surprise of officials involved in the operation, even two firearms were donated and were identified amidst the sorting of food and clothing received. “The whole team ended up at the police”, says the secretary. The objects were seized by the Federal Police.

Fábio Cavalcante says that, next Thursday (1st), a third shelter for Afghans will be opened in Guarulhos, totaling 150 vacancies in the municipality. A fourth space is planned for January 2023.

“There is already an articulation with the federal government for another 800 vacancies, but we are prioritizing these [casas] first because everything is complicated bureaucratically”, he says. “The lack of federal public policy for migrants is what really hurts. There’s no way the municipality can implement what doesn’t exist at the federal level,” she explains.

Last week, the secretary was invited to learn about the Acolhida Operation, in Roraima, aimed at receiving refugees from Venezuela. “We are trying to do a mini-Operação Acolhida with the support of the ministry”, he says.


Italian actor and director Kim Rossi Stuart, who acts in films such as “Happy Years” (2013) and “Tommaso” (2016), came to Brazil last week to launch his new feature film, “Brado”. The session was held at the Cultural Reserve, in São Paulo. The director and curator of the event, Erica Bernardini, attended the exhibition. The owner of the cinema space, Jean Thomas Bernardini, and the executive director of the Italian Chamber of Commerce of São Paulo Nico Rossini were also there.


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