March 13th report
We gained access to a Romanian intelligence hub involved in refugee relief, aside from the international one we were already working on. We are hoping to better integrate information and relief, wherever needed. According to Romanian authorities (26/02-12/03), over 313,000 Ukrainians entered Romania, directly or from the Republic of Moldova, and around 263,000 exited (road, rail, planes etc.). This leaves around 50.000 in Romania, with only ~3700 asking for asylum here. There are hundreds of refugee centers across Romania and all Ukrainians, regardless of official status, enjoy free travel, resources and support.
As a general report, right now Romania is in a state of centralizing its resources, after the first hectic weeks of relief. State institutions have done their work, volunteers and NGOs have worked even faster. The meeting of these two spheres and standardizing the response is key over the coming weeks (i.e. unitary platforms for information, housing etc.). We (and by we, we mean civil society here) are all learning to manage a refugee crisis as a transit country. Cooperation with state institutions is not always fast or responsive, despite their solid work so far.
We reached out to donors internationally and are building up our presence on Angel Protocol, an incredibly intelligent idea not just in gathering resources for the relief in Ukraine, but as a long-term solution to NGO activity. We are proud to have partnered with them.
We have secured a solution for food preparation on the premises in Bucharest’s main train station. There is hot, free food served there every day.
In the past weeks, Courage Romania, together with their friends from Youth Vision for Society, have organized five buses from Bucharest’s main train station to Germany (around 300 people). This means hundreds of hours of work in organizing, logistics etc.
In partnership with YVS, we also launched a support program called Volunteer Protect, where volunteers and interpreters can benefit form free psychological counselling. It might not seem important, at first, but there is a huge psychological toll to direct contact with refugees, and we need these people to be sane and continue their work. We are basically strengthening the national response to this crisis by improving volunteer resilience. Refugees also have separate counselling offered, for free.
We are also running other local projects and want to make sure that every single donation cent goes to this relief effort, and we haven’t had time for any housekeeping. We will therefore come in with a more detailed report of our work, in regards to finances, in the coming days. What we do know, so far, is that most donations have come from Romania, but most money flew in from Canada, the UK and the United States (also France and Belgium – merci beaucoup!). Around 150 people have donated, so far. We are incredibly thankful for this and will continue to write these updates in English, for our foreign donors, while updates to our local donors will be available on Facebook.