On 5th March, Erich Fenninger who is the Managing Director of our cooperation partner Volkshilfe Austria, arrived in Chernivtsi and was able to hand over urgently needed relief supplies such as food, sleeping bags and medicine to the Ukrainian partner organisation Narodna Dopomoha Ukraine (NDU). Narodna Dopomoha has 18 full-time staff members and twice as many volunteers. Food, hygiene articles, medicine, sleeping bags and sleeping mats were unloaded, sorted and distributed. Some of the relief supplies are being distributed in their own emergency quarters, the rest is being transported onwards in cooperation with the city administration via Ukrainian relief organisations in the country - including the embattled areas in the east. Our local partner NDU also set up a "Welcome Point" in Chernivtsi, where internally displaced people receive water, hot meals and the daily necessities. From there, NDU staff and volunteers have already arranged emergency shelter for over 500 IDPs and conducted psychosocial counselling sessions with over 100 people. Erich Fenninger, Managing Director of our cooperation partner Volkshilfe Austria, went to Chernivtsi to see the situation for himself and reports afterwards:
"Hundreds of people spontaneously formed a chain and helped with the unloading. This cohesion and commitment of civil society is overwhelming. You can see that our help reaches the people directly. The next transports with food and medical products are already being planned and will soon be on their way."
In cooperation with our Swiss network partner Solidar Suisse and two Romanian NGOs, two emergency aid projects were developed in the areas of care and accommodation for refugees. The two local partner organisations, LOGS in Timisoara in the west of Romania and Migrant Integration Center Brașov in the centre of the country, have been working in the field of migration for a long time. They currently support Ukrainian refugees with counselling, food, accommodation and first aid. Within a few days, LOGS managed to organise a welcome centre for arriving Ukrainians together with the local authorities of Timisoara. As Romania is part of Europe but not part of the Schengen area, Timisoara is more of a transit point for refugees, so that kilometre-long traffic jams form at the border with Hungary every day. LOGS also starts there and regularly drives to the border town of Nădlac to supply the waiting people with water and food. The second partner organisation, Migrant Integration Center Brașov, is located in the centre of Romania. There, a centre for arriving Ukrainians was also opened within a few days in cooperation with the local authorities and social services. During the day, refugees can register, warm up, rest, receive food and medical care or stay overnight if they have not yet found accommodation. In addition to accommodation and information and counselling services, refugees from Ukraine are supported in both projects with cash or vouchers to cover their basic needs.
Throughout Germany, AWO organisations show solidarity with those affected and organise fundraising campaigns, emergency aid projects or accommodation for refugees. In addition to the projects with our local partner organisations, AWO International supports various AWO associations in emergency aid interventions at the Ukrainian border and in aid transports to Ukraine.
Together with the AWO District Association of Upper Bavaria, AWO International also supports the Ukrainian NGO "Walnut House" in Lviv, which currently provides socio-educational support and meals to 150 people in emergency shelters. In addition, "Walnut House" cares for 85 orphans from Donetsk, in eastern Ukraine, who have been placed in a boarding school in Lviv. In addition, "Walnut House" provides food and drinks daily to about 1,000 refugees passing through Lviv's main railway station. The AWO District Association of Upper Bavaria is currently preparing needs-based aid transports that are to be handed over to the NGO at the Polish-Ukrainian border and transported on to Lviv.
On 6 March, the AWO organisation from Saxony-Anhalt already brought 3 trucks with relief supplies such as generators, masks, sleeping mats and medical material to Lviv (Ukraine). Currently, another truck is on its way with various medical materials (e.g. infusion sets, surgical equipment, bandage scissors and compresses, protective clothing and medical supplies) - further transports are to follow weekly. The materials are handed over to Ukrainian relief organisations at the border and distributed through hospitals and local administrations. Some of the aid supplies have been transported on to the embattled areas and have already arrived at a hospital in Kiev.
The AWO Wunsiedel district association already reached the Polish-Ukrainian border at the beginning of March with several vans loaded with food and hygiene packages, where they were handed over to Ukrainian relief organisations. In addition, the AWO Wunsiedel district organisation supplies the canteen kitchen of a refugee shelter near Medyka (Poland) with food. During the weekly transports to the Polish-Ukrainian border, refugees are also taken to Bavaria and accommodated in AWO facilities.
Other AWO associations are currently planning emergency aid interventions at the Ukrainian border as well as transports of relief supplies to Ukraine (e.g. food and hygiene packages, field kitchens, etc.) and are supported in this by AWO International.