Standing by the Ukrainian refugees
Médecins du Monde Greece will depart on Wednesday 9 March for Siret, Romania, with their Mobile Medical Units, in order to stand by the side of the people who are being displaced from Ukraine, seeking safety away from the fires of war.
The mission, consisting of 7 MdM members, is of an exploratory nature in order to assess and document the needs of the population for material and medical assistance and to link the team with the international branches of MdM located in the region of Romania, Moldova and Ukraine. At the same time, this first mission will deliver the first batch of health equipment to the designated authorities.
In the coming days, the second mission will follow, which will carry the humanitarian aid that Médecins du Monde continues to collect in Athens and Thessaloniki, since it is their policy to deliver the material themselves to the populations in need.
With many years of field experience in humanitarian crises, Médecins du Monde is closely following the current developments within the borders of Ukraine, concerned about the consequences of this major crisis affecting the Ukrainian people and leading them down the refugee path. It is estimated that to date more than 1,700,000 Ukrainian citizens have left their country in search of protection in the European Union and other countries.
The situation in Romania
According to the Romanian authorities, more than 77,000 people from Ukraine have entered the country since the beginning of the invasion until 06/03/2022. The Romanian Government announced that it is ready and able to receive more than 500,000 Ukrainian citizens.
The majority of Ukrainians fleeing their country are vulnerable cases such as elderly people, mothers travelling with their children, disabled people, after the Ukrainian parliament declared martial law, banning men aged 18 to 60 from leaving the country.
The refugees who have arrived in Romania come not only from neighbouring towns near the border but from all over Ukraine, with some travelling two to three days to cross the border.
In Siret, Northern Romania – the busiest border crossing between the two countries – there are long convoys of more than 12 km, with some people spending the night in the fields waiting to cross the border.
On the Romanian side, hundreds of volunteers from civil society, the Romanian civil protection service as well as the Romanian fire brigade are providing immediate assistance such as food, mobile phone sim cards and free transport to various cities in Romania.
However, the health system seems unable to respond adequately to the increased health needs of Ukrainian refugees. Shortages of health personnel are significant and there is a strong concern about an outbreak of COVID-19 in the region.