Paws2Rescue has worked in the communities in Romania and Eastern Europe for 9 years. Whilst the majority of our work is directly in helping dogs, every year we help in orphanages, in impoverished villages and with those in desperate need. Our annual Christmas Shoebox campaign has brought joy to many thousands of children. For the animals, our neutering campaigns in the communities has driven our work, and over the last year working with monasteries in these campaigns too.
The war in Ukraine, like so many, has deeply impacted us all, and we simply have to act to help. With our own Paws2Rescue team member from Ukraine and with her family and friends still in Ukraine, every minute of every day, the people have been in our thoughts and prayers.
Working alongside our NGO partner charity in Baia Mare, we are helping two monasteries in Sighet in Romania, close to the Ukraine border. The monasteries are taking in refugees from Ukraine. Not so many in the few days, but already numbers increasing at a devastating rate after queueing between 10 and 20 hours at the UK RO borders for entry. Whilst there are beds for 200 people, the monasteries are already setting up large tents in their grounds, as the number of refugees is starting to rapidly increase there.
Our local trusted NGO and led by Alex, whom we have worked with for 7 years, are buying the food and essentials locally. The monasteries are providing us with lists of what is needed every few days, for our local team to buy and take there. Locals have been donating sacks of potatoes and cabbage, and locally Lidl has been helping too. To give you an idea of needs, today, it was for oil, sugar, toiler paper water and fire wood amongst other items and we have donated these.
Secondarily, we are working in partnership with an additional NGO taking food and humanitarian aid directly into Ukraine, which is being distributed internally there where it is needed most. The truck is leaving Romania and entering Ukraine at the moment twice a day. Once inside Ukraine, the aid is transferred to another vehicle which has escorts and as safe passage as can be possible at the moment. These truck runs will continue as long as the road remains passable.
Our local NGO are at the borders of RO UK to gauge the refugee situation. The railroad in Ukraine has bomb damage and the refugee train carrying 400 people could not pass into Romania where the team were awaiting them, border queues are incredible and heartbreaking. We are of course hearing many stories, which cannot be fact checked, but all round, this truly is a devastating humanitarian disaster.
The initial need for help is humanitarian and this is the sole focus of this specific appeal for help. 100% of all donations will be used for the above purpose. Paws2Rescue and our partner NGO’s are volunteers. We anticipate that in coming days the refugee crisis really will deepen – as those who do not own cars, and those from less affluent backgrounds finally reach the borders.
Our help for the animal and dogs is a separate appeal focus. Whilst of course as an animal rescue charity, we are desperate to help, and we will, for the time being, other than locally picking up one or two we wait until the situation has been fully assessed. We have many contacts both inside Ukraine, and on the Romanian borders who keep us updated. Like Romania, Ukraine too has a stray dog population and the charities who run the animal shelters in Ukraine are staying with their animals at the moment and we will support them separately with food. Even if they wanted to leave, this is not logistically possible. The majority of pet owners thankfully are keeping their pets safe, and many refugees fleeing are taking their animals with them. For now, the strays we can only help in small numbers: there is separate dog transport entering Ukraine and taking these dogs, but the roads are dangerous and there are no guarantees that men between the ages of 18 and 60 can pass the borders out. We have vets trained in emergency rescue situations and like other international animal rescue charities, we continue to assess the situation in Ukraine before taking action en masse.
Thank you for supporting our humanitarian work for the people of Ukraine.