When a ferry filled with Ukraine refugees approached the Romanian border, it was exceptionally cold. Along the Danube River, successive waves of people poured in. Many carrying a suitcase in one hand and a child in the other. “This is a completely different situation than we have ever experienced”, said Jeffrey Kim, head of Humanitarian Operations for Good Neighbors.
Founded 30 years ago in South Korea, our organization has a lot of experience implementing development projects and offering humanitarian aid all around the world. Yet, in Ukraine's case, we knew from the get-go that it would be a crisis of huge proportions.
Our team arrived in Romania on March 3. After two meeting-filled days, they moved to the borders of Giurgiuleșt and Isaccea to help Ukrainians fleeing into the country. While some were reuniting with family members who had escaped before, others were heading to friends’ homes in other cities. The majority, though, had no connection and fell lost in a foreign country. “They didn’t know what to do, and we could see how scared the children were”, continued Kim.
Global solidarity for the people of Ukraine
Anxiety at the borders is palpable. According to Kim, Romania has a certain level of response capacity to deliver minimum humanitarian aid to the influx of refugees. However, there are critical gaps. “The biggest needs we are addressing are protection for children at shelters, psychosocial support, access to information, and prevention of human trafficking”.
One of the first things Good Neighbors coordinated was transportation. To make sure people are getting to shelters safely, they are operating two buses and transporting about 100 people a day. Aside from helping refugees, we are also sending food and medication to vulnerable people who remain in Ukraine.
Good Neighbors Canada is one of seven international offices. Located in London, Ontario, we are a registered charity, fundraising to bring emergency relief to the people of Ukraine. “This is our priority now. In a global effort, we raised over $975 thousand, but the humanitarian need continues to rise”, said our Executive Director, Hyang Cho. “Please visit our campaign page if you can donate. Every little bit helps”.