Caritas Australia welcomes state support for humanitarian efforts in Ukraine
By Vatican News staff writer
In the face of the deepening crisis which trails the war in Ukraine, the Australian government has committed to funding $35 million in humanitarian support to international organizations assisting Ukrainians with shelter, food, water, and medical care.
Welcoming the development, Caritas Australia CEO Kirsty Robertson highlights that “this humanitarian aid is desperately needed in Ukraine right now.”
She said, “Over half a million people have already been forced to flee their homes, and this number could balloon into three or even five million in the coming weeks as more villages, towns, and cities are victims of air raids and attacks.”
Another 100,000 people, she added, “are displaced inside Ukraine as well – and all in below-freezing winter conditions.”
Difficult humanitarian situation
Further noting the difficulty of responding to the mass displacement, Robertson explained that the queues to Poland are “up to 15km long, and families are fleeing the country on foot, with very limited access to water, food, or even toilet facilities – let alone a safe place to sleep that night.”
“This humanitarian need will likely only increase over the coming weeks and months,” Robertson said,
Tetiana Stawnychy, President of Caritas Ukraine, pointed at the many needs: of the people in transit, those resettling, those at the border, and those caught in the line of fire.
"It’s a huge trauma for us all and will impact us for a long time,” she said. “I see a lot of parents struggling to explain things to their children, running up and down to the basement with the airstrikes.”
Caritas Australia is working with Caritas Ukraine, alongside Caritas Spes to support Ukrainian families who have fled their homes with emergency supplies including food, water, hygiene kits, clean water, psychological support, and shelter.
Meanwhile Caritas Hungary, in collaboration with the Nyíregyházi Diocesan Caritas and the Debrecen-Nyíregyháza Diocesan Caritas to provide assistance to those in need.
They provide basic necessities for the many refugees at the Caritas base near the Barabás-Mezőkaszony (Косонь) border crossing point, including food, transportation, and other logistic help.
A statement from Caritas Hungary notes that at least 100 people cross the border every two hours. However, about 5,000 people passed through on the first two days.