Christian Orgs are Meeting the Needs of Ukrainians
As Russia’s war on Ukraine slowly fades from the headlines, the Ukrainian people continue to struggle to have their basic needs met, including critical medical care.
To help fill the void, Christian organizations like Samaritan’s Purse are providing essential medical supplies to Ukraine. On Wednesday, Samaritan’s Purse President and CEO Franklin Graham announced that the organization had sent its 15th cargo plane full of medical resources to Poland in order to help Ukrainian refugees in need. This latest shipment is part of a three-month relief effort that Samaritan’s Purse has been undertaking in Ukraine since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of the country in late February.
According to Samaritan’s Purse spokesman Stephen Sneed, the organization’s efforts are designed to “relieve the ongoing stress experienced by the local health system in Ukraine” after the country’s Ministry of Health reached out to them for assistance. He went on to state that a total of 17 airlifts have been deployed, which have totaled “over 140 metric tons of medical relief supplies [including] pharmaceuticals and medical consumables such as bandages, IV supplies, antiseptics, surgical supplies, casting, and splinting material.”
In March, Samaritan’s began receiving patients at an emergency field hospital that it established outside of Lviv, one of the hardest-hit areas of western Ukraine. At this facility and other medical sites, Samaritan’s staff of over 400 “treated more than 11,450 patients,” Sneed stated. In addition, the organization is working with local churches “to distribute 1,300 metric tons of food to areas impacted by conflict.”
Because of the “fluid and constantly evolving” nature of circumstances in Ukraine, Sneed said that it is “difficult to say exactly how long Samaritan’s Purse will continue to work” there. “We plan to continue serving those impacted by conflict in Ukraine for as long as we are able to meet the needs of those who are suffering, and as long as there is an open door to meet both physical and spiritual needs in Jesus’ Name,” Sneed continued.
The situation on the ground in Ukraine remains dire for many civilians. One woman named Oksana (name changed for security) had to flee with her family from her hometown due to violence. “We need everything — because we have nothing,” she said. She was eventually able to connect with a local church to receive much-needed supplies.
On a Samaratin’s-operated flight from Poland bound for Toronto, a group of 28 refugees, mostly women and children, shared harrowing stories of escape from Ukraine. One woman, Marina, described her escape as “a nightmare come to life.”
Others expressed relief at the prospect of starting a new life. “This flight is a miracle to me,” said Natalia, a university professor who is eight months pregnant. “We did not know what to do or where we could go. Now, my baby will be born in a safe country. We are all in a similar situation. Every person on this plane has been praying for a fresh start, a new life. … It is God showing us His love. This is God’s mercy flight.”
Dan Hart is senior editor at The Washington Stand.