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Ukraine: "Fear has become a constant companion of the people"

Listening and talking: Psychological consultation with therapist Zorjana Honcharuk in an emergency shelter in Lviv. Photo: Malteser Ukraine


Cologne/Lviv. "Every night we are frightened when the bomb alert goes off. For six months, the entire country has been experiencing the cruelty of this war. Fear has become a constant companion of the people. But as long as it is possible, we will continue our humanitarian work and care for the injured, sick and refugees who need help," says Pavlo Titko, Head of Malteser Ukraine in Lviv.

Since the beginning of the war on February 24, 2022, Malteser Ukraine has been supporting refugees. More than 365,000 hot meals have been distributed at train stations, border crossings and in cities, and two collective shelters were set up immediately. Relief supplies are being delivered from Lviv to around 65 cities and towns in the south and east of Ukraine. The psychosocial support program, already in place since 2015, was expanded Ukraine-wide and 13,000 psychosocial support counseling sessions for IDPs have taken place since the war began. Displaced children were able to attend a summer camp. An extensive project funded by the German Federal Foreign Office is currently being set up together with a hospital in Lviv to provide prostheses for amputation patients.

Preparation for the winter season

Aid workers are already preparing for the winter season. "An end to the war is still not in sight and the infrastructure in eastern territories of Ukraine is severely damaged. That is why we will be distributing important winter-specific relief supplies, such as blankets and solar batteries, to people in particular need in the coming weeks." Around 900,000 people are currently living in emergency shelters and thousands in barely accessible villages or damaged houses. "We expect even more people to arrive in western Ukraine during winter.  In the east of the country, it sometimes happens that temperatures drop to minus 20 degrees at this time of year. Without electricity and heating, people would freeze to death," warns Titko. In addition, a collective shelter west of Lviv is being renovated to make it winter-proof and to create living space for up to 120 people.

Germany: Interim balance of aid

Since the beginning of the war, the Order of Malta in Germany delivered more than 5,500 tons of relief goods to Ukraine and its neighboring countries. Medical supplies, medicines, massive tents, camp beds, blankets, food and field kitchens were sent to Ukraine in 183 transports. Malteser Ukraine in Ivano-Frankivsk and Lviv received 11 emergency ambulances and 2 mobile medical units. From there, they were partly transferred to the interior of the country.

In Lviv (Ukraine), Katowice (Poland) and Fürstenfeldbruck (Germany), Malteser International has large logistics and material centers at its disposal. Private or communal initiatives as well as corporate donations, which have been previously agreed with the relief organization, are also directed there. In addition, around 1,000 Malteser volunteers from Germany were on duty every day during the first three months. To date, the aid organization is setting up short-term shelters, supporting refugees in arrival centers and shelters, providing corona tests and first-aid medical assistance, picking up donations in kind and more. In total, full-time and voluntary staff look after refugees in more than 60 regular accommodations run by the federal states and local authorities. Rescue transports by land and air help bring seriously ill or injured people to German clinics or care facilities via Poland.

Appeal: "Europeans must continue to help alleviate the suffering in Ukraine".

Humanitarian aid is a major concern for the President of Malteser International Europe, Douglas Graf von Saurma-Jeltsch. He appeals: "All Europeans must continue to help alleviate the suffering in Ukraine." The great support for the Ukrainian people threatens to lose momentum in the face of their own concerns about gas and electricity. "But the war is getting worse, and more people are going to be injured both mentally and physically. Anyone who can give money or commitment to women, children and men, please do so, because many people in need still relay on  humanitarian aid. Even if the war ended tomorrow, people will be dependent on our help for months and perhaps years to come."

Saurma-Jeltsch thanks the volunteers and full-time workers for their work: "The large and unique worldwide network, the cohesion and tireless commitment to people in need is the basis on which Malteser International has been able to build its assistance and can continue to do so. The cooperation with the Order of Malta, its national associations and all activities to support in the crisis were activated immediately. We will continue to stand by the side of the people in need in Ukraine."

Attention editors:

Pavlo Titko, Head of Malteser Ukraine (German-speaking) and
Douglas Graf von Saurma-Jeltsch, President of Malteser International Europe and Board Member of Malteser Germany, are available for interviews and sound bites.
Operator: +49 (0)221 9822-7180, kathrin.muenker(at)malteser-international.org

Malteser Hilfsdienst e. V.
IBAN: DE10 3706 0120 1201 2000 12
Keyword: "Ukraine-Help


Katharina Kiecol
Email: katharina.kiecol(at)malteser-international.org

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