Samaritan’s Purse is working in Jesus’ Name to meet desperate needs in Ukraine as the bloody conflict inside that Eastern European nation has created the fastest growing humanitarian crisis in Europe since the Second World War. More than 2 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries, escaping the carnage since fighting began in late February. Many are displaced within Ukraine as well.
A nearly 60-bed Emergency Field Hospital is being set up on the outskirts of Lviv, in western Ukraine. We expect to receive our first patient at this site soon. We expect to receive trauma victims as well as those who simply have no place else to go for medical care. We also anticipate providing maternity care and expect to perform deliveries.
Materials for the Emergency Field Hospital were airlifted to Poland from North Carolina by our DC-8 cargo jet on March 4 and also March 8. Logistics and other personnel are facilitating supply lines and movement between Poland and Ukraine.
The hospital will include two operating rooms, with capacity for 14 major surgeries or 30 minor surgeries per day. There will be close to 60 total inpatient beds available, including four intensive care unit beds and four step-down beds. The emergency room can handle 100 patients per day.
On March 8, in response to dire needs at a train station in Lviv, Samaritan’s Purse also began to set up a Medical Stabilization Point there. Tens of thousands are passing through the gates each day, many with pressing medical issues. We plan to provide services beginning March 10.
Below is one Ukrainian woman’s story, focused on how our church partners in Lviv are helping in the midst of this crisis, as reported by Samaritan’s Purse staff on the ground:
Yelena’s limp, heavy body pushed through the church door. She could hardly believe she had made it to a safe place after the arduous journey from her now war-torn town to Lviv. She wore her fatigue on her swollen eyelids. She bore her angst like a knot of calcified nightmare in the pit of her stomach. She dragged her leaden feet up step by step to the second floor.
Trailing Yelena were her three children. They were clearly tired, but their eyes were still had a small light of youthful hope. “I just keep telling them that we will be home soon,” Yelena said. “I know it’s a lie, but how can I tell them the truth? How do I tell them that their father, their brother, and their uncles are still under the threat of death? How do I tell them that people they have never met have decided to hate them?”
When they reached the top of the stairs, the little family was greeted with warm smiles and the promise of warm food. They were settled into a room where they could finally sleep. “These mothers, they arrive here with no more reserves of energy,” said Viktor, a leader of a local church with whom Samaritan’s Purse partners in Lviv. “We are just trying to get them through one more day and then another and another. Our lives can only be one day at a time now.”
Since fighting erupted in western Ukraine, the church has seen the number of displaced people coming into their city steadily grow. Now, up to 65,000 people are passing through the train station each day. They are shell-shocked after packing what they could into small bags and fleeing for their lives with one last look at the loved ones who stayed behind to defend their homes.
“We saw these people, our neighbors even though they come from different towns, and we thought of them as people beaten and abandoned just like in the story of the Good Samaritan,” Viktor said. “We had to open our doors to them. We had to help them. There was never a question about what the Lord would want us to do.”
The church is serving 150 people each day for stays of up to a week to give them time to rest and find another place to go. In addition to providing a warm shelter from the bitterly cold temperatures and three square meals, church members also comfort the mothers, play with the children, and share God’s love through His Word and prayer. “This is a terrible thing that has come upon Ukraine,” said Viktor, “but we praise Him that we are able to help and that we can tell the suffering about the promise of Heaven through faith in Jesus Christ.”
As Yelena settled her children into their temporary new home, she whispered a prayer for them all. “They will sleep now,” she said. “And when they finally fall asleep, I will cry myself to sleep too. But now I am here at this church where I know God is with me, so I will wake up tomorrow and know that I can make it through another day.”
If you are interested in joining our DART roster to be a part of these types of disaster responses, click here to apply.
Samaritan’s Purse is not just working in Ukraine and Poland. An additional relief flight is scheduled later this week to Poland that will deliver a medical clinic for use in Moldova, a southern neighbor to Ukraine.
Hundreds of thousands of desperate Ukrainians are either relocating to or passing through that country. We have already distributed hundreds of hygiene kits to families staying in government-run transit centers there.
We have also been working in Romania, mobilizing local churches to provide relief to Ukrainians on the move.
Prayer is the important thing we can do right now. Please pray for the people of Ukraine, those inside the country and those who have fled. As noted by Franklin Graham (via Facebook), the Baptist Union of Ukraine has put out an urgent request for prayer over the next two days. They are asking every Ukrainian, every family, every Christian, and the entire world community to pray (March 8-9).
Your support enables Samaritan’s Purse to share the love of Jesus by providing assistance to people impacted by the Russia/Ukraine conflict.