Reception in the neighboring countries
Caritas is mobilized in Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Moldova, Slovakia, and even in Romania. From their side of the border with Ukraine, Caritas organizations welcome all of those who are fleeing the violence of the war. Every day, the queues at the border lengthen. “At the Polish border, it is already 40 kilometers long”, states Ireneusez Krause, President of Caritas Poland. Because men are not authorized to leave the country, it is mostly women and children that make up the lines. “They are exhausted. With the polish authorities and numerous volunteers, we are doing what we can to help the largest amount of people. There are hundreds of thousands and there will be many more.”
Help the victims of this war. Make a vital donation today via our online payment platform or on our bank account BE88 0000 0000 4141 with the message “4147 Ukraine”.
©‘Goraca herbata’: “hot tea”, at a Caritas Poland emergency station, just across the border. – Caritas Poland
©The queues at the polish border, which get longer day by day. – Caritas Poland
©Railway station just after the polish border: the trains from Ukraine are crowded. – Caritas Poland
©People flee with their pets. – Caritas Poland
©An emergency aid station run by Caritas in Poland. The refugees are mostly women and children. -Caritas Poland
A helping hand in Ukraine
On the Ukrainian side of the border, the teams of employees and volunteers from Caritas Ukraine roll up their sleeves. They have tried to make the wait a little more bearable for the refugees. “We are installing tents where people can warm up a little, eat and drink something hot”, explains Tetiana Stawnychy, president of Caritas Ukraine. “We also provide psychological support. These people are so scared, they are very panicked .”
Caritas Ukraine helps at the border, but also throughout the country, as many flee in the face of violence. Caritas accommodates them in centers where they can eat and drink, sleep and wash up. The children can play, draw and speak to someone. These are the places where they can regain strength before pursuing their journey, which is often dangerous.
©In Caritas Ukraine shelters, people can regain strength before pursuing their journey, which is often dangerous. – Caritas Ukraine
But not everyone can or wants to flee. In the cities, people take refuge underground and in basements. “In the shelters, we notice a lot of solidarity between people”, explains Father Vyacheslav Grynevych, director of a local Caritas in Ukraine (Caritas Spes). “Humor allows us to hold on.” He himself welcomes 37 women and children in a refuge in his church. “Some have brought their parakeets, their dogs, and their cats. It really is a little zoo here.”
In the meantime, it has become very difficult to find food in Kiev. “The city is closed, we don’t have the ability to leave most of the time”, he states. “Yesterday, we were authorized to leave to go to the store, but many stores are empty. It is important that the humanitarian corridors remain open.”
©Caritas in Ukraine: Shelters for refugees in transit are put in place in safe spaces in Ukraine. – Caritas Ukraine
©Staff and volunteers of Caritas in Ukraine. “We try not to think too much and do our job], recalls the president Tetiana Stawnychy. – Caritas Ukriane
The Caritas members abroad, including Caritas International Belgium, launched emergency calls to collect funds for the victims of the war in Ukraine. “Help is pouring in from everywhere”, recalls Tetiana Stawnychy. “We are thankful for the support from our Caritas partners and all the goodwilled people abroad. It warms our heart to know we are not alone”.
Ukrainians are living day by day. “The situation is very tense. But we are trying not to think about it a lot and do our job. Because helping people, it gives hope.” “When all of this is over, it will take a long time for the wound to heal”, she adds.
You and us, together, can ensure a better chance of survival for the victims. Today, it’s a question of life or death. Your gesture is a heartwarming token of international solidarity: you make it clear to the victims from Ukraine that, despite everything, they are not alone.
©Blankets, blankets, and even more blankets, because in Ukraine the cold is striking. – Caritas Ukraine
Make a donation today via our online payment platform or on our account number BE88 0000 0000 4141 with the message “4147 Ukraine”. Because it is only with your support that we will make an immediate difference. Our emergency aid is vital.