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12 September 2014

Belarusian Red Cross helps over 3,000 Ukrainian refugees

MINSK, 12 September (BelTA) – Over 3,000 people, who arrived from Ukraine, have sought help of the Belarusian Red Cross Society, with over Br200 million spent to provide that aid, BelTA learned from Yelena Sveshnikova, chief specialist for public relations of the Belarusian Red Cross Society.

Yelena Sveshnikova noted that once the number of Ukraine residents fleeing from the warzone started rising, the Red Cross sought to help. People were given food and means of hygiene. Aid was provided to buy them tickets to the places in Belarus where employment was offered. Red Cross personnel helped the seriously ill Ukrainians and those, who cannot move on their own, to get to their new places of residence. In some cases the displaced Ukrainians were allowed to stay in refugee centers in Grodno and Vitebsk.

The Belarusian Red Cross Society provides psychological aid and information support to the displaced Ukrainians. Moreover, the Red Cross has pulled out all stops to help the people. The Gomel branch of the Red Cross society provides consultations regarding further accommodations and first aid. According to Alla Smolyak, head of the Gomel Oblast branch of the Belarusian Red Cross Society, the number of people coming from Donbass every day is rising. Every day about 40 Ukrainian citizens apply for help. Over 1,000 displaced Ukrainians have been helped over the last two months.

Virtually all the refugees are in post-stress state, have no means of subsistence (need clothes, footwear, food, and homes). Reaching the relatives still staying in the warzone is a great problem. The Red Cross hopes to resume phone communication with the recently established Lugansk Red Cross and provide help to restore family ties.

In early September a delegation of the International Committee of the Red Cross visited the Belarusian Red Cross Society's organizations in Minsk Oblast, Mogilev Oblast, Grodno Oblast, and Vitebsk Oblast for the sake of supporting the Ukrainians that had arrived in Belarus. The experts met with the refugees. The displaced Ukrainians were mostly worried about humanitarian and medical problems as well as search for employment and housing. These issues were discussed at a roundtable session involving representatives of municipal government agencies.

According to Viktor Kolbanov, Secretary General of the Belarusian Red Cross Society, virtually all government agencies provide aid to Ukrainian refugees. Those are primarily healthcare institutions, police, and the employment service.

Belarusians vigorously responded to the Red Cross's request to raise funds, bring clothes and articles of daily necessity to Ukrainian citizens, who are now in Belarus. The Belarusian Red Cross Society is deeply grateful to all the indifferent Belarusians.

Since winter is coming, the need for winter clothing and footwear is rising, stressed the source. "We request citizens of Belarus to help us with warm winter clothing and footwear. All the oblast organizations, town ones, and district ones of the Belarusian Red Cross Society can accept this aid. The humanitarian aid will be forwarded to those in need of it," BelTA has been told.

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