Bucharest, 21 March 2022 - As the world’s largest humanitarian network responds to the unfolding crisis in Europe, its leadership returns from Ukraine with a warning about the coming days and weeks — and reaffirms that the Red Cross will strengthen support inside and outside its borders.
Francesco Rocca, President of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), connected with some of the 6,000 Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers delivering aid to families experiencing the worst weeks of their lives.
“The devastating reality of Ukraine is that the needs are growing every day. Amidst increased violence and a disrupted supply chain, delivering essential goods in many parts of the country is getting harder — not easier. Responding to a crisis of this magnitude takes teamwork, which is why we’re working hand-in-hand with the Ukrainian Red Cross on the ground to let people know that they’re not alone. Not ever,” states Rocca.
Since the conflict began, the Ukrainian Red Cross has distributed hundreds of tons of essential goods and team members have supported the evacuation of approximately 57,000 people from Energodar, Sumy, Kviy region, Kharkiv and Kherson region. The Ukrainian Red Cross is not only providing first aid, but also teaching it to people who are taking cover in basements and shelters.
No one in Ukraine is left unscathed by the ongoing conflict. An estimated 18 million people — or one-third of the population — will require humanitarian assistance.
“Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers have lost homes, communities, and loved ones. Yet, they keep doing the work of delivering aid and comfort to families in need. I am humbled by their resilience and their commitment to humanitarianism in the midst of conflict.”
Speaking from the Romanian border in Siret, Mr. Rocca stressed the altruistic nature of community members around Europe welcoming the more than 3 million people who have fled Ukraine.
After Poland, Romania has received the second highest number of people crossing its borders in search of safety: more than 500,000 according to the UN Refugee Agency.
Romanian Red Cross teams have been working 24/7 at border crossings since day one, providing items such as food, water, diapers, feminine hygiene products, warm gloves, and other necessities. The Romanian Red Cross is offering SIM cards and mobile charging stations — to help people who have been separated from their loved ones in Ukraine to reconnect. Many who have crossed the border simply ask for a cup of coffee or tea. Seemingly simple aid like this can offer families peace of mind in an otherwise hopeless moment.
“We have provided more than 400 tons of aid to those affected by the conflict, but a hot drink and a warm welcome is what many of those fleeing say they appreciate most,” says Rocca.
In Budapest: Kathy Mueller, +1 226 376 4013, [email protected]
In Geneva: Benoit Matsha-Carpentier, +41 79 213 24 13, [email protected]