In just a few days, the violence in Ukraine has displaced more than one million people. Many have chosen to leave for Poland, but faced with the massive arrival of refugees, the borders are saturated. Many have therefore decided to turn south to find refuge in Romania. NGO CARE and its Romanian partner SERA are on the ground at the Isaccea border crossing preparing to provide assistance.
Currently, hundreds of people are crossing the border every day, but with the deteriorating situation and the overcrowding at the Polish borders, local authorities estimate that daily arrivals could reach up to 50,000.
“We are currently in Isaccea, on the border with Romania. About 2000 people are arriving here every day after crossing the Danube by boat. The temperatures are freezing and many children have no warm clothes or blankets to protect themselves. People also need warm and nutritious food for babies. The need is growing by the hour at the border where women, children and the elderly are lining up for miles. Many are exhausted after a long journey in crowded trains, in cars in endless traffic jams or on foot with limited possessions. They have had to wait for long hours or even days at the border in freezing temperatures," explains Valentina Mirza, CARE International Romania Response Team Leader in Isaccea, a border town with Ukraine.
As of 2nd March reports are that 140,000 people had crossed into Romania from Ukraine in search of safety and support. The Romanian authorities are doing their best to ensure that no one is left out in the open, and citizens are showing immense solidarity in providing shelter. Hot drinks and assistance to families. But the needs are increasing, and border countries are not prepared to receive refugees.
CARE and its partner SERA are working alongside the Romanian authorities to organize support to traumatised families. Our partners have already started to act. We will begin training of 200 psychologists in emergency psychosocial support in the border areas where refugees are arriving, to provide assistance to help them overcome the trauma of war and leaving their homes. CARE and SERA are also supporting the social services and child protection departments set up services on arrival and at transit routes for the most vulnerable children.
"We will start distributions of emergency supplies at the Isaccea border crossing next week. Our teams on the ground are working hard to organize the best possible emergency response for refugees crossing the border in the coming days: food distributions, hygiene supplies, mattresses and blankets. The needs are huge, and we need your support to help them," explains Bogdan Simion, SERA’s Executive Director.
About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit www.care-international.org
As part of the Ukraine response, CARE International is currently partnering with People in Need, one of the largest non-governmental organisations in Eastern Europe and has provided humanitarian aid in the affected regions of Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict in 2014. CARE is also working with its long-term partner of 20 years SERA - a child protection focused organization - in Romania to deliver assistance to those fleeing into Romania from Ukraine.