The pictures of the war in Ukraine and the desperate situation of the people in the country as well as at the borders are impacting everyone.
“A huge wave of solidarity is rushing through the countries, which is not stopping at the gates of Johanniter,” says Sandra Lorenz, Head of Communications at Johanniter International Assistance. Hundreds of support offers have reached the Johanniter associations, service centres, and the task force in Berlin, whether on a voluntary basis or through donations of goods and money. Currently, coordinating and processing all actions takes up a large part of the time. Yet additionally, the task force in Berlin, as well as the associations, have started to organise further transports of relief goods.
Also our Hungarian and Polish members report many support offers and are active in collection actions for medical material and other essential relief goods. Our Italian member sent an ambulance vehicle to Ukraine.
Here is an overview of what is happening and what is to come in the next few days in the individual countries.
On 2nd March, Johanniter in Bavaria, packed 1,100 packages with food and hygiene items as well as medical material. On the evening of 2nd March, they were transported to the Polish-Ukrainian border. There, the relief supplies were loaded onto Ukrainian trucks and taken across the border to Luzk, in the north of Ukraine, where they will be distributed by the German-Ukrainian Forum.
In the coming days, at least two more aid transports with food and medical material via Poland to Ukraine will be arranged. “The need especially for medical material is reported to us from all countries,” informs Ulrich Kraus, who joined the task force in Berlin and coordinates the aid transports.
On 7th March, our Latvian member, Svētā Jāņa Palīdzība, sent humanitarian aid in the form of 24 pallets with medicines and medical goods to a military hospital in Kharkiv. The hospital, which provides medical assistance in the Kharkiv, Poltov and Sumy regions, had requested help and support. The next humanitarian aid transport with medicines for children’s hospital in Harkov is being prepared.
On 1st March, a relief operation by our Austrian, Hungarian and Swiss members started with a truck loaded with relief goods and mattresses heading from Switzerland to Hungary. The truck stopped in Vienna to pick up ten more pallets with blankets, protective clothing, food and masks to be delivered to the Hungarian-Ukrainian border. There, the goods were partly be transported to Ukraine by local partner organisations in smaller vehicles, and handed over to our Hungarian member Johannita Segitö Szolgálat, which takes care of arrivals in the villages at the border.
The truck arrived at our Hungarian member on Thursday 3rd March. The donations were distributed to smaller trucks for further transport over the weekend. Part of the aid delivery remains in Hungary to provide for arriving refugees.
Johanniter Germany and the Munich Airport Association arranged an urgently needed transport of disinfectants, masks and blankets to Johanniter Hungary on 3rd March. The transport is being handled by BayWa AG, which has provided up to 20 trucks to Johanniter International Assistance for transport services.
On 2nd March, Johanniter in Paderborn and other aid organisations, a medical company and the local fire brigades delivered five trucks with relief goods to Przemyśl, the Polish partner town of Paderborn. The trucks were loaded with hygiene items, camp beds, food, clothing and medical products.
At the same time, two Johanniter from the Hanau and Main-Kinzig Regional Association set out for Piaseczno on behalf of the city of Hanau with a Ford minibus full of food to pick up, among others, a 12-year-old boy travelling alone and bring him to his Ukrainian mother in Hanau.
St John Malta is supporting a community initiative for the collection of relief supplies in response to the situation in Ukraine. Many needed items and materials have been collected and packed on Friday, 4th March, and over the weekend. The volunteers of St John Malta provided necessary logistical support.
An Airbus A340 aircraft flew the emergency supplies received to Warsaw on Monday 7th March, where the supplies will be distributed to refugees in Poland.
A Johanniter partner organisation in Romania is caring for refugees at the border to Ukraine and asked Johanniter for support. “Due to freezing nights, we were asked for sleeping bags and blankets,” reports Ulrich Kraus. Together with BayWa AG, a large-scale collection was initiated, and the collected goods were transported to Romania on 3rd March.
Johanniter’s refugee aid (e.g. in Frankfurt am Main), has received Ukrainian families in their shelters. In Hilden, North Rhine-Westphalia, helpers assisted the city with taking in 45 Ukrainian refugees, primarily orphans. In other associations, Johanniter has been asked to build up further capacities for the accommodation of refugees.
At the urgent request of the Vienna Social Fund (Fonds Soziales Wien), our Austrian member has taken over the operation of an emergency shelter for people from Ukraine. The accommodation in question is the Hotel Senator in Hernals. After the assignment on the afternoon of Friday 4th March, it was possible to take over and open the accommodation within 22 hours.
In the meantime, 241 people have been accommodated, and the hotel is already fully booked.