Ukrainians face chaos and confusion as aid and development agencies race to get humanitarian supplies into the country.
World Vision Australia CEO Daniel Wordsworth led the organization’s first Mercy Run across the Ukrainian border to deliver much-needed food and supplies as the nation reels under the weight of war. World Vision has been on the ground in Romania since the start of the conflict and was able to respond to the urgent call across the border, delivering two vans of food and supplies to a 600-bed regional hospital which launched an urgent appeal for help to its sister city in Romania, Siret.
Wordsworth said the conflict in Ukraine was beginning to take a terrible toll on the supply of basic items, including hospital supplies in the country, and this would be the first of many deliveries.
Hospital supplies are already dangerously low and there are real fears that food will become a critical issue in the coming weeks.
Alla Gedz, a member of Christ Church, Kyiv, part of the Church of England Diocese of Europe, has posted regular updates which have been shared widely across Anglican networks.
On the evening of March 5, Alla posted on Facebook when she had just returned home to Kyiv.
“Every day there are many stories on Facebook about people in need of help who have been without water or food for several days,” Gedz wrote.
“When we arrived in Kyiv, a neighbor greeted us in the building and gave us a loaf of bread. I can’t remember the last time I was so happy with the bread. From what people say our neighbors, food has appeared in Kiev, and some bakeries bake bread and give it away for free… This is the moment when I cannot hold back my tears of gratitude…”
Gedz, a journalist, chronicled the early days of the Kiev bombing. His story was captured in a moving article titled “The Siege of Kiev – The View from a Basement” published in Anglican News on March 1.
His message posted yesterday captures the feeling of chaos in Ukraine as war unfolds around them.
“Our president, on all the television channels, calls on people to return from all the countries where they have fled. He says it’s already safe in Ukraine… They say on TV that 11,000 people have already returned to Ukraine,” Gedz writes.
Gedz and her husband had returned home from where they were staying about 100 km away.
“When we were driving towards Kiev, we saw a lot of buses and cars heading towards the border. And they also periodically say that an evacuation has been announced and that they have agreed with the Russians on a corridor green.
“When we arrived home, the sirens sounded again…”
World Vision’s Wordsworth provides a less personal but equally disturbing account.
“We hear from inside Ukraine that people are in desperate need of food,” Wordsworth said. This creates an additional problem for hospitals.
“In addition to supply chain issues and their normal patient load, hospitals are under additional pressure as people flee their homes and flock to hospitals as safe havens to seek food and shelter, especially as conditions drop below zero degrees.
“Hospital supplies are already dangerously low, and there are real fears that food will become a critical issue in the coming weeks. There are vulnerable people who are sick and cannot cross the border and are taking refuge in hospitals and schools.
World Vision’s humanitarian delivery included hospital supplies such as mattresses, pillows, sheets, towels, soap and sanitizer, as well as food items such as pasta, cereal, rice, oil , condensed milk and canned meat for starving children and families and especially sick patients. .
More shipments will follow and additional World Vision teams, experts in food distribution partnerships, are deployed to continue delivering supplies to children and vulnerable communities in Ukraine.
Gedz, and others like her, will continue to give those of us many miles away a sense of what her world has become.
“The morning was calm. Strangely silent. Even the birds were silent, did not sing. This is the time when you start to fear the silence, because you don’t know what awaits you.
Then the curfew ended. And the sirens sounded again: “Air Raid!