Over 5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled an unprovoked war for safety in neighbouring countries such as Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania & Moldova.
Daniel Skokan, FTH Director for the Czech and Slovakian countries recently explained the impact this is placing on the European communities ability to respond to the humanitarian crisis.
“This makes a big tension within the country, and it stresses out their resources on every level on a financial, to the social resource, accommodation, health care, food, schooling, everything.
“Millions of people… this is a huge problem… it’s huge big numbers. But unfortunately the story is the same, it’s like this.”
Imagine you are a father with a young family, wife and maybe 2-3 kids. You drive them to the nearest train station. But you are on the wrong side of the country, in the dangerous part under attack, so you drive for 1.5 days to reach the safest station for your family to escape the war.
You load them onto the train, but you discover it is so full that each family is only allowed to take 1 suitcase in total. So you have maybe 5 suitcases, and now you have to pick just one.
You are about to get on the train with your family, but you are stopped. Your wife can get on, your children can get on, but you are a male under 60. You are of ‘fighting age’… your country needs you to stay and fight. There is no choice, you must stay.
“So you go in and then you say, goodbye. Father cries, mother cries, children cries, everybody in the train cries, everybody at the train station cries… Then the train leaves.
“Now I don’t know if you have ever traveled in the train for a long time, but sleeping in the train, while everybody is standing there is difficult. Just ordinary stuff is difficult for a refugee. You have your kids there, who are sad that their father is gone. You are worried about what is going on with your father. But your little one needs the bathroom, then you need to try and sleep, but you’re jam packed in a train with hundreds of other people in the same situation.
“And then the train journey ends up at the border. But nothing happens. You wait. You wait for hours… maybe day, sometimes even two. Waiting.
“And then finally they end up at some other country. They don’t know exactly the language. It sounds very similar, but it’s not your mother tongue.
“Their currency is gone. Their food is gone and they have few things like clothing, and maybe some family pictures. It’s simple life, in one suitcase for a three, four members of family to last for three weeks or four weeks, like four months.
“But basically after a few days spending, traveling, you exchange your clothes in the suitcase for something else, and then everything is dirty.
“You don’t have mattress or a pillow. You don’t even have blanket. You might not have simple toothbrush, or ladies hygiene products. You remember everything that you bought in last 20 years but they are sitting on shelf at home… they are not here.
“And then you start thinking about your home 2000km away. Maybe you bought it 20 years ago. You took out a mortgage, You painted it. You repaired. You painted it again. You paid it off. And now you seen the news and seen the horrific pictures of your home town, and you dread the thought but fear it’s probably true: I probably lost my home.
“They arrived empty handed, and if they ever get to go home, they know they will have to start from scratch. She will start to think what she needs to build her life again… and inevitably will start to worry about her husband.
“Is he safe? Will I lose him too? Is he fighting on the front lines? Is he just in the background in a support role, just building some trenches or carrying supplies around? What is he doing? Is he alive? Is he hurt? My world has turned upside down in an instant. Help! I can’t do this on my own…
This is their new reality, but this is something we never, nobody, none of us have experienced. This is so stressful for kids and wives. Even I don’t know how to grasp the situation.” explains a sorrowful Daniel. This is a story that is repeated a million times.
The first day is very hard. They were standing, sometimes two days and nights outside in the rain. In like zero degrees, that means freezing temperature… without warm tea, without any blankets, they come sometimes six in a group, you have to seek supplies for a large group which increases their parental and guardian stresses.
They need everything… and they are so much… Yet we are providing food and hope to them in Jesus Name.
I want to really thank our friends and supporters in Australia and New Zealand for your generous support. And I would like to ask you to pray again, if God puts on your heart for some special gift, do it, please do it because if it’s God’s urging… we should obey.
– Daniel Skokan
Feed The Hungry Czech