Hungary’s government is launching a coordinated aid campaign to help ethnic Hungarians “and anyone fleeing Ukraine for their lives”, the prime minister’s chief of staff said on Friday.
“We’re seeing that civil society has a strong desire and intent to help,” Gergely Gulyás said. “The government will coordinate this and contribute state resources to provide help primarily to Transcarpathia Hungarians and anyone fleeing Ukraine for their lives.”
Gulyás said Hungary was the first safe country refugees could enter, noting that western
Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region has an ethnic Hungarian population of around 200,000.
The aid campaign, dubbed Bridge for Transcarpathia, will aim to provide help to those who have been forced to remain in the region, Gulyás said, adding that Hungary had a duty to admit Hungarians seeking refuge and anyone eligible for refugee status in the country. Hungary will provide Transcarpathian settlements all the help they need, he said.
The government will soon publish the list of helplines that will be operated by the civil groups that can provide direct aid to those fleeing Ukraine or ethnic Hungarians who have stayed in Transcarpathia, Gulyás said. The aid campaign will be coordinated by government spokeswoman Alexandra Szentkirályi.
Meanwhile, the city council of Debrecen, in eastern Hungary, on Friday said it is partnering with the umbrella organisation of local charities, the Debreceni Karitativ Testulet, to provide aid to refugees fleeing Ukraine. The organisation is sending a consignment of aid from its own stocks to a church-run warehouse near the Hungary-Ukraine border to help refugees mainly from Transcarpathia, the Debrecen City Hall’s press service told MTI.
Additionally, charity collection boxes will be set up at the local Auchan hypermarket for people to donate food and emergency supplies like blankets, towels or diapers.
“The city of Debrecen rejects all acts of war and will work in unity to aid those who have been forced into a hopeless situation by war,” the statement said.