The Salvation Army is responding rapidly to the urgent needs of displaced people who have been impacted by the unfolding Ukraine-Russia conflict. Emergency response teams across The Salvation Army’s global network continue their tireless efforts, providing critical relief, strategic planning and emotional support through conditions of extreme challenge and distress.
Salvationists from the Eastern Europe Territory sprang into action with initial relief operations being delivered in Moldova, Romania and Ukraine. In Moldova, The Salvation Army is supporting refugees from Ukraine through the provision of free temporary accommodation and access to Wi-Fi, made possible by Salvation Army officers (ministers), staff and the innovative employment of Salvation Army buildings and facilities. Salvationists of all ages are bolstering the efforts through the preparation and distribution of hot meals, drinks and parcels containing essential items.
The Salvation Army in Romania has sent emergency teams to work at border crossings in Siret and Isaccea, alongside other agencies and individuals, providing food and hygiene items to the large influx of Ukrainian refugees. At the Siret ferry, these teams have been of particular support to women, children and older people. Assistance for displaced people is evident beyond the border work in Romania, with one mother and her two children located to safety in Budapest from the cultural capital of Iași, solely through the aid of Salvation Army connections across Europe.
In various locations across Ukraine, particularly in border towns like the city of Lviv, internally displaced people are being supported through the supply of food and non-food items. Salvation Army corps (churches) and centres, such as those in Vinnytsia and Dnipro, are ready to give help where needed. Such relief work, and other ongoing activities, is taking place on all sides of the border, with The Salvation Army in Russia providing essential items to those affected.
The wider Salvation Army emergency response is being formulated and effected across other European countries. In Poland, relief parcels are being prepared for the anticipated arrival of 100,000 Ukrainian refugees per day. Damaris Frick and Captain Matthew Beatty, of International Emergency Services (International Headquarters), are strategy planning with colleagues on the front line. Salvation Army leadership and response teams in Slovakia and the Czech Republic are also assessing and preparing vital aid for the certain flow of displaced people, with representatives from both countries meeting together on a regular basis.
Salvationists and friends across the international Salvation Army have responded to this crisis with an attitude of care, compassion and concern for their brothers and sisters in Ukraine and Russia through prayer and, where possible, through financial donation. General Brian Peddle, international leader of The Salvation Army, has contacted leaders to assure them of the deep support they have from ‘our international family’, which transcends borders and national identity.
‘Pray for peace in this troubled time,’ the General has prompted Salvationists. ‘Pray for the safety of those who are fleeing and for those who are already displaced; pray that there will be adequate hospitality from neighbour countries; for faith and courage for every Christian and especially for our people; and pray for the de-escalation of the battle so that the threat to life is no longer a reality.’
Report by Lauren Westwood, IHQ Communications