HEKS/EPER is also working in western Ukraine and from Odessa to offer protection to internally displaced persons and to ease the plight of people in the country's embattled southern and eastern cities.
Emergency aid in the war zone
Since 11 March, HEKS/EPER has been carrying out a range of emergency aid activities through a humanitarian team stationed in Odessa. The aim is to provide people in the embattled cities in the south and east of Ukraine with essentials such as food, water, emergency packages, and medicines.
In the cities of Kherson, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhia, HEKS/EPER is providing some 1000 households with support in the form of cash. The beneficiaries are families who have been particularly badly affected by the conflict, whose homes have been destroyed, or whose family members have been injured.
Besides, HEKS/EPER has set up internal supply lines that involve purchasing food items such as potatoes, tomatoes or grain from farmers in Odessa, and sending them by rail to cities in the east and south of the country most impacted by the war. These include the city of Kharkiv, under relentless fire for weeks on end, where thousands of people have taken refuge in air-raid shelters and subway stations, and have been entirely dependent on outside emergency aid. Each day, HEKS/EPER now provides more than 3,300 people in hard-to-reach areas in the north and east of the city with warm meals, which it prepares in a main kitchen in the city centre.
Help for internally displaced people
HEKS/EPER has already been collaborating with the Reformed Church in Transcarpathia in western Ukraine for many decades now. In recent weeks, roughly 380,000 people from disputed areas have sought refuge in Transcarpathia, more than anywhere else in Ukraine. HEKS/EPER therefore assists the Reformed Church in offering accommodation to refugees and in meeting their basic needs. Continued care will also be given to senior citizens and people with disabilities who cannot or do not wish to flee the country.
HEKS/EPER and other international organizations jointly launched the "Ya Mariupol" initiative at the end of May in order to help people displaced from Mariupol. A first welcome centre was opened in Kyiv. It provides medical, psychological and legal assistance for refugees and evacuees from Mariupol. There are also plans to offer placement services for jobs or retraining opportunities. Other such centres are soon to be opened in Vinnytsia and Odessa.
HEKS/EPER is also supporting internally displaced people in Odessa, Mykolaiv and Zaporizhia with things like food packages and hygiene kits, and by furnishing and fitting out community centres to offer them temporary shelter.