Since the war in Ukraine began on February 24, 2022, thousands of refugees have crossed the border into Romania. The first days they came by the thousands, but over time the first ‘panic wave’ subsided. Nevertheless, people still cross the border or are living now in Romania.
In Oradea, many initiatives have been started since the beginning by many people, churches and organizations. Over time, this has become more and more organized and there is still daily development. It is good to realize that Romania has lived for decades in a ‘state of receiving’. After the revolution of 1989, Romania could not do much else: it had little money and resources to provide good care. Now, since the outbreak of the war, the country is turning ‘into a country that gives’, on a large scale and mostly on a voluntary base! It takes time to properly organize it, but in Bihor county there are more than 40 organizations that have joined together and established a partnership, which is quite unique for the country. In this regard are presented the county, the red cross, child protection, various churches and many other social organizations and NGO’s! They have set up a crisis center in Oradea. More information, click here (Romanian).
Unfortunately, a lot of subsidy and cooperation has stopped over time. This does not make it any easier and a lot of consultation is being held to ‘stand strong together’ and to be ready for a possible new wave of refugees, if the war develops negatively.
Regarding the refugee work, I have joined ‘People 2 People‘, an organization that I have known for years. They have various social projects for children, among others. They have also joined the partnership and in this way they are registered and authorized to provide assistance in the form of transportation, aid transport and social work.
There is a lot involved when refugees cross the border. First of all, transport is needed, which often costs a lot of money. People often flee in a group and are transported in Ukraine by bus, some even come on foot or have a ride with someone else. Language can be a major barrier, even at the border. Then of course they need a shelter. They must be registered there. This is necessary, also because many human traffickers are active. It is therefore important that the authorities can verify who is entering the country, but also who is leaving. Unfortunately, there are already many cases of missing persons.
Not all people have directly access to money, which can have all kinds of causes. For example, because they cannot work, or because there are problems with the bank. Food is therefore continuously provided and it is checked whether medical assistance is needed. A lot of money is needed here too.
Many of the people arriving in Oradea are people with disabilities. This entails much more organization and care than usual. There are people in wheelchairs, people with autism, with Down syndrome, etc. That is already a concern in Oradea as a transit location, but also for the places where they go if they want to continue to travel: Italy, Germany, Austria or the Netherlands or wherever.
For the team in Oradea it is very difficult to find suitable locations. The locations where they are safe, but also receive the right care and guidance. We are therefore looking for partners who can assist in this!
Also an urgent appeal: do you know people or organizations that can accommodate people with disabilities? Please get in touch. You can do this directly via ‘People 2 People‘, but you can also do it here.
Thank you in advance!