Finn Church Aid supports operations in Ukraine

Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA) offers aid at a shelter on the border of Hungary and Ukraine. They are also working in Lviv and the Transcarpathia region in Ukraine.

Finn Church Aid (FCA) announced on Saturday March 5th, 2022 that, in cooperation with Hungarian Interchurch Aid, they are establishing operations in the city of Lviv and in the Transcarpathia region of Ukraine to aid those affected by the war.

AN APPEAL from FCA, the largest aid organisation in Finland, has so far raised euro 2 million for those affected by the conflict.  Thousands of people from Kyiv and further east have fled towards the western city of Lviv where FCA’s partner, Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA) has established a base for operations.

“As Lviv has yet not been the site of military action, HIA and FCA decided that it was an ideal location from which to help people in Ukraine,” said Jouni Hemberg, Executive Director, FCA. “We have a long relationship with HIA working in other crisis and we work well together. We are already supporting their work aiding refugees on the border of Hungary, so when they decided to establish operations in Lviv, it was with our wholehearted support.”

As an immediate response to the people in Lviv, HIA is planning to meet basic needs with food, water, blankets and soap as they assess how to scale up the operation.

“Waves of displaced people are arriving day by day – by train, by bus, car. Most of them trying to flee to one of the borders. This is the first place where they can feel a moment of safety. Most of the people we have talked to here had to leave with only hours of notice. They packed whatever they could and left most of their belongings behind,” said Giuliano Stochino, Regional Coordinator, HIA, who is based in Lviv.

“It’s relatively safe and organised calm (in Lviv). There’s no panic, rather, an amazing level of humanitarian response to the needs arising. Everybody is trying to help in whatever way that they can, be that from the volunteers who are providing two or three meals at the train station or people working at the coordination points,” said Stochino.

According to the United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) 1.5 million people have been displaced by the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and over a million people have fled across borders during the past week. An indeterminate number of people are displaced within Ukraine, including many migrants and asylum seekers from other countries.

“There is a huge need to scale up this response. We are seeing that people are staying longer; about ten to fifteen percent have declared that they will stay inside the country,” said Stochino.

“We will offer our support to everyone fleeing the conflict, targeting the most vulnerable and those most in need,” said Hemberg. “Over the following days and weeks we will continue to assess and adapt our operations to ensure that we help in the best way possible,” he added.

For an interview with Jouni Hemberg or Guiliano Stochino, please contact:

HELSINKI – Erik Nyström, erik.nystrom(at) +358 5038 07250

COPENHAGEN – Melany Markham melany.markham(at) +45 9194 2670