Focus of Johanniter aid shifts to the medical sector
Due to the war in Ukraine, medical care for hundreds of thousands of people in the country is no longer guaranteed. This is particularly dangerous for seriously ill patients like those in the oncology sector. Johanniter in North Rhine-Westphalia transported 21 children and adolescents from the paediatric oncology hospital in Odessa to various hospitals in North Rhine-Westphalia after their arrival at the University Hospital in Essen.
Additionally, at the request of various hospitals, Johanniter has already received 13 Ukrainian children with cancer and their families in Malogoszcz near the Polish-Ukrainian border and drove them to university hospitals in Greifswald and in the Hamburg region. During the trip to Germany, the patients were cared for by Johanniter medical staff.
Medical aid for Ukraine
In addition to transporting patients out of Ukraine, Johanniter also supplies various hospitals in Ukraine with medicines and medical materials to ensure that the sick and injured are cared for on site. “A semi-trailer truck with 20 tons of food, hygiene items and medicines arrived in Luzk and Chitomir on 5th March. There, it was handed over directly to local agencies for the supply of people,” says Ulrich Kraus, coordinator of Johanniter relief transports to Eastern Europe. “In the coming days, we will drive further urgently needed medical supplies to Ukraine. We are able to realize this thanks to the many private monetary donations and the support of a wide range of companies.”
Fact-finding missions in Moldova and Poland
Not only acute aid with relief transports is essential for the region. “We have to be prepared for the fact that this war will put the entire region to the test for a long time,” says Anette Müller, head of the Johanniter task force. “Especially countries like Romania and Moldova cannot manage this for a long time without help. Moldova, for example, has already seen 70,000 refugees arrive. For a country with a population of 1.5 million, that’s a big number, and the fear of war in their own country is great.”
In order to assess on the ground what assistance is needed beyond the ongoing emergency relief efforts, Johanniter sent a two-person assessment team to the region on 8th March. At the same time, a second Johanniter team travelled to Poland to plan further aid for Ukraine together with the already installed United Nations coordination offices.
Refugee Assistance in Germany
Johanniter is also active in Germany, where staff care for incoming refugees from Ukraine. “At the moment, primarily women and children who have family members and friends still in Ukraine are arriving. The refugees often have had traumatic experiences. Adequate accommodation, special protection and intensive care are needed here,” says Anne Ernst, Head of the Crisis Management & Emergency Relief Division at Johanniter.
“Another challenge is the continuing high numbers of COVID-19 infections in Germany. Many of those arriving now have no or insufficient vaccination protection against the virus. We, therefore, hope to be able to offer adequate vaccination and testing services to as many arrivals as possible”