Responding to the needs of women and children fleeing Ukraine in Romania

By Alberto Roca, Humanitarian Staff Member from World Vision Romania.
He is currently on the border with Ukraine, working hard to respond to the needs of women and children who have fled the current conflict. 

WV Romania staff members Nicoleta Popa and Alberto Roca with Ukrainians on the border with Romania called Vama siret.
WV Romania staff member, Alberto Roca, supporting victims on the border of Romania called Vama Siret.

  1. Tell us what you saw at the border.

    On the Ukrainian side of the border to Romania, the queue stretched over 10km. I was on the Romanian side of the border, and on arriving at the Siret Customs point (Vama Siret), I saw hundreds of mothers who have been forced to flee their homes alone with their children. They are without their husbands. The men are staying behind in Ukraine to fight.

    Mothers were confused, afraid at the thought that they will probably have to care for their children alone, without their partners. Girls and boys have been deprived of family security. I saw confused children. I could see the despair in their eyes. Mothers pulled their youngsters along by the hand like suitcases, in a hurry to escape danger. The most emotional thing for me was seeing the children smile on receiving toy gifts. I knew that in all likelihood in the rush to leave home, they had probably not found space in their bags to pack their favourite toys.

  2. What are going to be the biggest needs of the people arriving in Romania?

    Mothers with children who arrive in Romania need emotional support, food, accommodation and transportation to get to relatives in Romania or other parts of Europe. They need somewhere to stay and feel safe.

    As more victims arrive in Romania, all needs including food, housing, emotional support and transport are going to grow. Available accommodation, which is already short in supply, will soon become exhausted. We expect an increasing number of people to arrive, given that hostilities in Ukraine only started a few days ago. I have been talking to the victims, providing them with moral support, food, water and hygiene products.

  3. What is World Vision planning on doing to support the people of Ukraine arriving in Romania? 

    World Vision is assessing the likely long-term needs of the displaced so we can cushion the impact of this conflict. We are trying to find accommodation for them, provide food, phone cards and helping people get transport to their desired destinations. We are organising teams to provide psychosocial counselling. We want children to be safe and we will work to create programmes that are protective and caring, so the children’s development are not harmed. 

  4. What have you been praying for? 

    I’m praying for the children of Ukraine to be safe. I think in this moment they are so scared, that they could suffer trauma that will last a lifetime. We must be there to help them.

  5. How can we support?

    I think this is a moment of action and a moment of prayer. Only God can help the people of Ukraine have a country that is safe once more. I have hope that with all our prayers, they will. We can provide support by being connected to their needs. We can improve their housing conditions; we can offer psychosocial support, and of course, we can meet food and hygiene needs.

World Vision is on the ground in Eastern Europe, standing ready to meet the needs of children and families who have been forcibly displaced due to the escalating crisis in Ukraine. You can stand with us, to provide a safe haven for the children and families living in fear. Click here to pledge your support.

Written By: 
World Vision Singapore