Humanitarian Disaster in Ukraine: At Least $ 1.7 Billion Needed, North Macedonia Sends Aid
More than a month after Russia invaded Ukraine, intensified attacks on several Ukrainian cities have left many people without access to their homes, without electricity, water, food or basic necessities. The countries supporting Ukraine in this war, including North Macedonia, are sending aid in various formats to help the military forces, as well as humanitarian aid for those who are suffering the terrible consequences of the attacks
Author: Simona Atanasova
Institutions, municipalities, companies, chambers of commerce, as well as ordinary citizens of North Macedonia carry out various actions to collect humanitarian aid for the people of Ukraine. So far, the funds raised by the Red Cross to help Ukraine have reached around 2,500,000 denars, the Red Cross informed “Truthmeter”.
Ten days ago, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, Bujar Osmani, and the Secretary-General of the Red Cross, Sait Saiti, in the presence of the Ambassador of Ukraine to the country, Natalia Zadorozhnyuk, organized a humanitarian event to collect aid to Ukraine. Earlier, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Red Cross of the Republic of North Macedonia signed a Memorandum of Cooperation for more efficient coordination of fundraising for Ukraine.
The Ambassador of Ukraine, Natalia Zadorozhnyuk thanked the institutions, and companies, but also all citizens who responded to their call.
We are grateful to the friendly Republic of North Macedonia for its clear support to Ukraine, for the Government’s decision to impose sanctions, to help refugees, to organize humanitarian aid to Ukraine. We appreciate that very much and I would especially like to thank the organizations that donate funds with which we can procure the necessary funds and send it to Ukraine, Zadorozhnyuk said.
The Red Cross says that with the signing of the Memorandum of Cooperation with the Chambers of Commerce of RNM, the companies are included with donations of humanitarian aid. This aid will be distributed to the regional warehouses of the International Red Cross.
Citizens can donate through the phone number 143 400 which is open for donations to all mobile operators, and can also join the appeal of the Embassy of Ukraine which collects humanitarian aid in products. The humanitarian aid is sent in coordination with the International Red Cross and the Regional Warehouses that have opened in the countries bordering Ukraine, the Red Cross informs “Truthmeter”.
Humanitarian aid points
The members of the Ukrainian association “Lesya Ukrainka” in Skopje opened two points for humanitarian aid in the warehouse of “Gorska”, in Gjorče Petrov, on “Šarplaninska” Street, no. 4, every working day from 10 am to 7 pm, and on Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm. A tent has been set up on Macedonia Square, open every day from 10 am to 8 pm.
Any citizen who wants to leave donations in medicine, clothes, food (except animal origin), personal hygiene items, blankets, etc. can do so at these two points.
A few days ago, the Embassy of Ukraine in North Macedonia posted on its Facebook profile several photos and videos of humanitarian aid collected in our country that they managed to send to Ukraine.
With the help of Macedonian companies and firms, the Embassy once again sent a shipment of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. Thank you for your indifference and solidarity, friends, wrote the Embassy.
North Macedonia, in addition to humanitarian aid, donated military equipment and supplies to the Armed Forces of Ukraine. This was decided by the Macedonian Government, which joined the comprehensive support of NATO allies and EU partners.
“Truthmeter,” asked both the Government and the Ministry of Defense what kind of assistance is in question and how it was transferred to Ukraine. We received the same answer from both institutions – that it is classified data.
At the beginning of this month, North Macedonia responded positively to Ukraine’s request for donation of military equipment, in accordance with the needs of Ukraine and our facilities. The request for assistance in military equipment was classified and for that reason we are not able to provide details on what type of military equipment it is. The equipment is sent with logistical support in accordance with the established procedures on a bilateral basis with NATO allies. Whether additional aid will be sent in the next period depends on the demands, but above all in accordance with our capacities, say the Government and the Ministry of Defense for “Truthmeter”.
Reception of refugees
According to the Red Cross, so far, 163 people have been registered for help. Most of them are accommodated in Skopje in private accommodation with their close relatives and friends.
The arrival of an increased number of people from Ukraine has not been noticed in the country and so far none of them has applied for refugee status, informed the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bujar Osmani at a press briefing.
We will not reject any Ukrainian refugees. Everyone will be taken care of, estimates are being made for the number of capacities in the state institutions that we have at our disposal, Osmani said.
At the 30th session, held on March 17, the Government instructed the Ministry of Finance to provide funds in the amount of 120 million denars for the organization and provision of hotel accommodation and additional services for the citizens of Ukraine who would arrive from the war zones as refugees in our country.
They confirmed for “Truthmeter” that Ukrainian citizens have arrived in the country, but none of them has applied for refugee status.
The people who have arrived at the moment are staying with their relatives and friends. So far, none of them has submitted a request for refugee status or for exercising any specific right, say the Government.
According to the UNHCR, the Russian war in Ukraine has so far expelled 10 million people from their homes. Nearly 3.7 million refugees have fled Ukraine since the start of the war on February 24, and 6.5 million have been internally displaced in Ukraine.
The war in Ukraine is so devastating that 10 million have fled – either displaced inside the country or as refugees abroad, wrote on Twitter Filippo Grandi, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
Among the responsibilities of those who wage war, everywhere in the world, is the suffering inflicted on civilians who are forced to flee their homes.
The war in Ukraine is so devastating that 10 million have fled — either displaced inside the country, or as refugees abroad.
— Filippo Grandi (@FilippoGrandi) March 20, 2022
Assistance from the municipalities as well
In addition to state-level institutions, several local self-government units, including the city of Skopje, have been mobilized to raise funds for the Ukrainian people.
On March 10, the Council of the City of Skopje held its sixth session at which a Decision on providing humanitarian aid to the citizens of Ukraine in the amount of 7 million denars was voted, as an expression of solidarity of Skopje citizens for the citizens affected by the military conflict in that country.
The Council of the Municipality of Bitola on March 16 made a decision to help Ukraine and its citizens with the allocation of 500,000 denars financial assistance. The councilors decided to open a point where the citizens of Bitola will collect aid in the most necessary items and goods in support of Ukraine, which is facing a huge humanitarian catastrophe.
The Municipality of Kavadarci, at an ad-hoc session of the Council in early March, decided to send humanitarian aid to the people of Ukraine. With seventeen votes “For” and one abstention from the councilor of the party “Levica”, the Municipality decided to allocate 600,000 denars for the association of Ukrainians in the country “Lesja Ukrainka” which will have to procure food products, and they announced that the business center will also join with donations.
The Municipality of Delčevo was the first municipality in North Macedonia to launch an action to collect humanitarian aid intended for the citizens of Ukraine. Delčevo is a twinned municipality with the municipalities of Vishgorod and Ternopil in Ukraine. The collection point in Delčevo was opened on March 6, after which the collected donation was transported to the Embassy of Ukraine in Skopje.
Ukraine needs $ 1.7 billion in aid
The United Nations has launched two coordinated urgent appeals that note that $ 1.7 billion is needed to help people across Ukraine and beyond. In Ukraine, $ 1.1 billion is needed to meet the growing humanitarian needs of more than six million people affected and displaced by military operations over the next three months. At the moment, 40% of the funds have been raised. Outside the country, more than $ 550 million is needed to help Ukrainians fleeing across borders, mainly to Poland, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.