Spanish students given 12 hours to clear out dorms for Aquarius migrants

Spanish students given 12 hours to clear out dorms for Aquarius migrants
Copyright Kenny Karpov/SOS Mediterranee/Handout via Reuters
By Marta Rodriguez MartinezPascale Davies
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Around 20 students who were relocated from their publicly-owned residence in Alicante, Spain, to make way for the arrival of migrants from the Aquarius rescue ship, told Euronews they had 12 hours to evacuate.


Some 20 students from a university in Alicante, Spain, were relocated from their residence last week to house migrants from the Aquarius rescue ship. One of the students spoke to Euronews about the unexpected move.

"They told us 12 hours in advance," said student Paula Sanchis. "They met us at seven in the afternoon and said that those of us who had finished (exams) should return to our family homes, and those who had not, should look for a place to stay."

The La Florida youth hostel is public property and part of a group of buildings that can be used in emergency situations. The arrival of the migrants on board the Aquarius and the two Italian ships, which transported over 600 migrants rescued in Mediterranean waters, constituted one of these cases.

Paula explained that the problem with the move was the students did not want to leave because they had a contract to stay until the end of June, which is when many students finish exams. 

"They first told us that we should leave if we had finished, and later, they told us to leave in any case because (the Aquarius migrants) were going to arrive with contagious diseases," she said.

"If we wanted to collect some of our things we (had to go) with long sleeves, long trousers, or winter clothes," she added.

The Valencian government told Euronews that it had taken care of all expenses involved in removing the students and that it had taken responsibility for finding them alternative accommodation.

Paula confirmed that was the case, but said not all students were fairly compensated. "Not everyone's taxi transfer was paid for," she said.

In general, the students said they were not happy with their new lodging, mainly because it is located far from the university, which authorities did not consider.

The Aquarius, operated by Franco-German NGO SOS Méditerranée, docked in Valencia last Sunday after a long and tortuous sea crossing.

Spain's new President Pedro Sánchez welcomed the migrants to the country after Italy and Malta closed their ports to the boat.

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