According to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), more than 6.2 million people have fled Ukraine; the vast majority of these are women, children and the elderly. There are more than 3.3 million refugees in Poland alone, along with more than 924,000 in Romania, more than 610,000 in Hungary and more than 464,000 in Moldova. Inside Ukraine, roughly 7.7 million people are internally displaced as a result of the conflict, which is equivalent to 17.5 per cent of the entire population.

The Ukrainian Baptist Union Coordination Centre continues to distribute aid across Ukraine. As of May 20th, they have sent out at least 320 vehicles filled with humanitarian supplies from their warehouse. Churches inside Ukraine continue delivering food, medicine and other necessities to those in need, some of whom are still sheltering in basements.

The Donetsk and Luhansk regions continue to experience heavy shelling. Local churches continue to provide aid and are helping to evacuate those wishing to leave. About 60,000 people remain in the free Luhansk region and are in need of humanitarian goods. A team of volunteers from a local church have been serving those by helping refugees leave, bringing medicine and food, and visiting basements and bomb shelters. Because of the heavy shelling, the city of Lysychansk has no electricity or water supply.

On Easter Day, church services were held across Ukraine, with many non-Christians attending. In the Chernihiv region alone, 25 people gave their life to Jesus during the Easter celebrations.

In Irpin, a local church is housing a team of up to 70 volunteers. The team repairs damaged homes, delivers hot food to the armed forces, and welcomes people into the church to wash their clothes, charge their phones and receive food and clothing. Pastors and deacons are on hand to provide pastoral care.

As well as responding to the needs created by the conflict, congregations such as the Church of the Resurrection in the Odessa region continue to provide practical support to blind people and run rehabilitation centres for people struggling with drug addiction.

The Baptist Union in Moldova is operating four refugee shelters with space for over 700 people per day. Two of those centres are being run at camps, housing 400 people per day with the support of 75 volunteers. Refugees are also volunteering in the centres, including a refugee who is a trained chef and is helping to prepare meals.

Immediately after the conflict broke out in Ukraine, 50% of churches in the Polish Baptist Union cancelled all their meetings and opened their doors as shelters for Ukrainian refugees. The shelters in churches and seminaries are providing hot drinks and meals, personal hygiene supplies and beds to approximately 1,600 people per day. The union is also helping to transport some goods across the border into Ukraine to support those internally displaced by the conflict.

In Romania, our Partner, All4Aid continues to respond to the refugee crisis in a multitude of ways. In April, All4Aid completed the setup of their third and largest housing unit in Bucharest: The House of Hope. Following their principle of working with refugees, and not only for refugees, they have invited the Ukrainians staying at the other All4Aid houses to come and help. They gladly assembled beds, fixed curtains and did many other jobs to help make House of Hope a beautiful and comfortable place for the new Ukrainian refugees who are now living there.

With several rooms spread over more than 250 square metres of living space, the House of Hope is able to comfortably accommodate 40 refugees, the vast majority of whom are women and children. The house offers bedrooms with proper beds and bedding, a good number of bathrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a dining room, as well as a common area/living room. In the area outside, there is even a playground for the children.

In addition to housing refugees, the team makes trips from Romania across the border into Ukraine with food and hygiene supplies. All the food and supplies are handed over to partners on the ground where help is most needed. They are primarily two local churches which are acting as distribution centres for the community around them.

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CBM’s immediate and near-term goals are to reach as many people as possible and relieve the needs of those suffering. More projects are already being planned to sustain and scale these efforts. We will remain committed to this work and will not waver in doing all we can to empower these local churches to live out the gospel in full during this time of crisis.

These are the days that future generations will know as history. In the uncertainty of this time, we must continue to live and be a witness to God’s loving embrace for the wounded and the weary. Please keep praying for peace and the shared work that we are empowered to do through your generosity.