Press Release

World Vision delivers food and supplies within Ukraine following urgent appeal from hospitals

The aid agency also warns that Ukrainian women are at huge risk of exploitation as they flee the conflict

Since the onset of the conflict in Ukraine, World Vision has been actively responding to the needs of the affected people. This week, besides continuing to provide support to refugees at various border crossings in Romania, World Vision has also launched a response into Ukraine, delivering two van-loads of food and hospital supplies, to the 600-bed hospital which had issued an urgent plea for help to its sister town in Romania, Siret.

World Vision Australia CEO Daniel Wordsworth, who accompanied the shipment, said the conflict in Ukraine was starting to take an awful toll on supplies of staple items, including medical and hospital goods within the country.

“We’re hearing from within Ukraine that people are desperate for food,” Daniel said. “On top of the hospitals facing supply-chain issues to cope with their normal patient-load, they are coming under added pressure as people fleeing their homes flock to hospitals as safe havens, to seek food and shelter.”

“Hospital supplies are already dangerously low, and there are real fears that food will become a critical issue within coming weeks.”

“The people we met there were showing clear signs of emotional distress,” Daniel said. “These are people who don’t have connections, don’t have much money or means to get across the border and so are in great need of emergency assistance.”

This first batch of humanitarian delivery by World Vision included hospital supplies such as mattresses, pillows, sheets, towels, soap and disinfectant, as well as food items such as pasta, grains, rice, oil and canned meat to hungry children and families.

Meanwhile, human trafficking of Ukrainian women has emerged to be a dangerous by-product of the country’s conflict-fuelled refugee crisis.

A survey by World Vision's office in Romania, a country receiving large numbers of Ukrainian refugees, has confirmed the prevalence of human trafficking in the country. A study of 200 girls from Romania, aged 14-19, found 97% of respondents had heard of instances of human trafficking, with more than half (53%) believing women are most at risk.

When asked how they would describe human trafficking in Romania, 72% said prostitution, being kidnapped (67%), being bought or sold (65 %), forced labour (34%) and forced begging (30 %).

Mihaela Nabăr, National Director of World Vision Romania says: “The refugees that entered into Romania over the last week are mostly women; often mothers with two or three children that need care, pregnant women or young women escaping the war. The risk of human trafficking here in Eastern Europe was growing even before the Ukraine conflict. Now that risk is even larger.”

Having worked in Romania for over three decades, World Vision’s locally led team of 350 Romanians has been responding to the urgent needs of the refugees by providing them with water, food, hygiene kits and more. Meeting the emergency needs of families is critical in making sure that families are not forced into situations where they may have to beg or worse to raise money in dangerous ways just to eat.

World Vision is also working to set up special spaces for children at places where there are large flows of refugees and where children might be at increased risk, so that children can play games, engage with staff or volunteers and be supported and protected. Additionally, World Vision plans to provide psychological first aid to children and individuals arriving from Ukraine through a group of Ukrainian-speaking psychologists, in order to support their psychological wellbeing.


Published on 10 March 2022

 

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