The Commission for International Aid and Development (CIAD) has provided emergency donations to assist refugees and establish contacts with Vincentians in the border areas with Ukraine in order to strengthen emergency aid.
Since the outset of the war in Ukraine, Europe is facing its biggest humanitarian crisis in many years. Everywhere, our Vincentians are doing their best to support the refugees and victims of the war. The Council General International is already supporting their efforts. Although our main tasks will be for the long term, the Council General wants to show immediate and permanent love and solidarity to our brothers and sisters, through CIAD, and to find other ways to show support such as Resolutions, declarations
The conferences in Ukraine are currently out of reach as most of our members have been displaced. Nevertheless, other branches of the Vincentian family are remaining in the country with a small task force to resist and assist. DePaul International is one of them; they have been in Ukraine since 2007, assisting persons in need in several cities. Most staff and the friends they support had to be evacuated from some of the places they lived and worked, but they remain very active in others locations where one of their day centres is now a feeding station, providing an emergency medical service. Their shelters are full of women and children alongside usual beneficiaries. They are supported by the Daughters of Charity. They are also delivering truckloads of food and emergency items to the cities that were evacuated.
CIAD has agreed to support the call for help by providing an immediate donation of € 10,000.
There are more than 360,000 Ukrainians in Romania. Vincentians are active in small yet efficient ways throughout the country.
The SSVP Oradea and Turt members are working at the Sighet and Halmeu Customs post and also at a refugee center organized at the ‘Sacro Cuore’ Monastery. SSVP Lasi members work at refugees centers opened in Lasi by Caritas and local parishes. They are also working at centres opened in Gadium and Sapience, assisting refugees entering Romania through the Siret customs border post.
The needs expressed by the National Council of Romania are for food (of any kind), bedding, hygiene products and, gasoline for vehicles transporting refugees to those places where they can stay.
CIAD has released an immediate emergency grant of € 5,000, and are awaiting a relief plan from our members in Romania before considering larger grants, in accordance with ongoing needs.
“The people in Slovakia are generous, they help the refugees at the border and all over Slovakia with collections, shelter and other types of assistance. All the conferences are participating in the collection of food and hygiene articles for the Ukrainians. “In locations where the Vincentian Sisters are active, the goods are given directly to them.” said the National President, while cooperation is ongoing within the Slovakian Vincentian Family.
They serve Ukrainians refugees in Slovakia including the provision of accommodation, but are also sending aid across border into Ukraine through a Conference located near the border. The aid includes food, hygiene articles and medical supplies.
“In Bratislava, in “Dom nádeje” (Home of Hope, a SSVP Centre) 4 refugees from Ukraine (Kharkiv) are accommodated, another 4 persons are expected. The refugees are a mother with her child and 2 grandparents. Other people are sent to us by the Vincentians from the area where they work. They have no money and no belongings. From our Vincentian parish they are gradually receiving food, hygiene articles and clothes from the collection”.
CGI, through CIAD, has sent to the National Council an emergency grant of € 5,000 that will cover some of their expenses (electricity, gas and heating fuel), donations (food, clothing…) and activities (for example, healthcare and medicines for the elderly) and will be assessing further needs.
In addition, CGI teams are working to contact the Society and Vincentian family members in all the countries assisting the refugees (Czech Republic, Lithuania, Hungary, and Poland) in order to establish the best and most secure way to provide help. While our hearts command us to act urgently, our responsibility is also to act wisely and for the long term. Emergency relief is not one of SSVP’s strengths, but it is our Vincentians who will remain on location “long after the cameras have left”.
CGI will not make a separate appeal for the Ukrainian crisis and all the donations we will make to these countries and to support the victims will be drawn out from our “Fund for International Solidarity”. Council General has recently appealed to the generosity of the National Councils worldwide to replenish this fund.