The Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA) was among the first to start aid work in war-hit eastern Ukraine, the charity said on Thursday. Moreover, the Vatican has provided 30 million forints’ worth of emergency aid to Hungary to be spent on catering for Ukrainian refugees, the secretary of the Hungarian Catholic Bishops’ Conference (MKPK) said on Thursday.
HIA funded 300 food parcels assembled and distributed by the Santis Foundation in Zaporizhzhia in March, and sent another 300 parcels to the region in early April, the statement said. HIA is assembling another 600 food parcels and 600 parcels of hygienic goods to send to eastern Ukraine, the statement said. It is also helping the families of bus drivers risking their lives while evacuating civilians from Mariupol, Berdiansk and surrounding villages, it said.
Meanwhile, the Holy See has sent 75,000 dollars directly while Cardinal Michael Czerny, the Vatican under-secretary for migrants and refugees, has arranged for the allocation of 11,000 euros. Czerny visited Hungary as the pope’s envoy in early March to learn about the situation of refugees, Tamás Tóth told MTI.
The Catholic Church will spend the money on providing supplies and transport to Ukrainian refugees in the border region as well as on purchasing non-inflammable storage tents, makeshift beds and power generators, he said.
Tóth noted that as many as 10,000 refugees had been given help at the aid centre operated by the Catholic Caritas at the Barabas border crossing point by the end of March. The charity has provided 110 million forints’ (EUR 290m) worth of financial and material support to eastern Ukraine’s Transcarpathia region over the past weeks, he said.