The report is produced by EBF Communications in collaboration with Baptist partners.
The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) reports at least 1,834 civilian casualties, including 691 killed as of 15 March. Of the number killed, 48 were children and at least 99 were women.
The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) reports that almost 3.5 million people have fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries since 24 February, including more than 1.8 million people in Poland alone, along with over 270,000 in Hungary, over 220,000 in Slovakia and almost 470,000 in Romania.
Updates from Baptists in Ukraine
A brother from Mariupol writes: “The city is simply wiped off the face of the earth. It is completely destroyed. There is no electricity, all the wires are on the ground. There is no gas, as the gas pipeline is blown up. We have a well in the church, but there is salty water in it, so we drink this salty water and salty tea. There are lots of people in the streets, they are hungry.”
Humanitarian aid has been sent from Lviv to Kharkiv, Buzivka, Slovyansk, Kremenchuk, Bila Tserkva, Kyiv, Vinnytsia and Vasylkiv. This mainly took the form of clothes, hygiene products, medicines and food. Humanitarian corridors are open and Baptists are able to transport goods into the country from different neighbouring countries.
The situation is direr in cities in the east and north that face constant shelling, including civilian buildings. Drivers go back and forth between conflict areas, bringing aid from the west and people fleeing back with them to the east.
Many people leaving Kharkiv in the north are making their way to Poltava, 140 km away. All five churches in Poltava are receiving large amounts of refugees every day and churches are staying open 24 hours a day to receive them. Hundreds of internally displaced persons are staying in church buildings, believers’ homes and any building that can be converted into shelters.
Baptist Response in Neighbouring Countries
Czech Republic — While the Czech Republic does not share a border with Ukraine, the Baptist Union in the Czech Republic is sending financial aid to the Ukrainian Baptist Union and to local churches in Ukraine, as well as helping transport people from the Slovakia-Ukraine border to the Czech Republic. As of 11 March, there are 200,000 refugees from Ukraine in the Czech Republic, and churches are offering food, accommodation and general aid. Russian-speaking churches are on the frontline of support, offering counselling, prayer and spiritual encouragement to those in need.
Hungary — There are ten Hungarian congregations within Ukraine near the Hungary-Ukraine border who are supporting tens of thousands of internally displaced people, mostly families or women and children. Pastors and church members are helping provide shelter, food, warm clothes and spiritual guidance to these people. Pastors working with HBAid are preparing 500 warm meals every day, and are handing out food, clothes, sanitary items and medicine.
Slovakia — As of 10 March, there are approximately 200,000 refugees in Slovakia, and almost every church in the Baptist Union of Slovakia is offering accommodation to refugees in church buildings and the homes of members. While most refugees being housed will move on after 1-2 nights, at least 120 people have decided to stay in Slovakia permanently. Church members are helping refugees obtain the right documentation, find schooling for their children and find employment. The union has also acquired a 24-ton truck which they will be used to send aid, including fresh drinking water and food, into Ukraine.
Poland — Baptist Charity Action in Poland are working on the Poland-Ukraine border and are sending large trucks of necessities like food, water and clothes into Ukraine. Baptist churches across Poland have the capacity to help over 1,400 people every day, with many church members offering up beds in their own homes, and have helped over 10,000 people in total (including 5,000 people in Chelm and over 1,900 in Warsaw) in various ways, including providing food, shelter and spiritual care.
This includes only the latest updates but does not exclude other country responses. Please see past reports for how other Baptist Unions are responding. If your union is responding to the crisis, please let us know so that we can include your response in future updates.
Alan Donaldson, EBF General Secretary, visited Romania from 14 to 16 March.
EBF is gathering weekly on Wednesday during the month of March to pray for the situation. In our third gathering on 16 March prayers were offered for the continued generosity of those giving, renewed strength for those volunteering on the front line, and for safety for those transporting goods and people back and forth. The next prayer gathering will be on 23 March (19:00 CET / 18:00 GMT). Registration is here (if you have already registered, you do not need to register again).
Follow EBF on Facebook and Instagram at the icons below for more frequent updates as well as photos and videos from on the ground response.
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