The conflict in Ukraine has created a regional humanitarian crisis. Over 1.5 million Ukrainians have already fled their homes into neighbouring countries. Moldova is one of the main refugee-hosting countries and a transit country for those moving onward. Some 350,000 Ukrainian refugees have entered Moldova since the 24th of February 2022, with a portion continuing to Romania, Poland and other countries. Those entering arrive distressed and are heavily affected psycho-socially.
From those who entered Moldova, around 150,000 are staying and the rest moved to EU countries or are planning to move there in a short time.
The Government of Moldova has declared its readiness to receive tens of thousands of refugees from Ukraine and is cooperating with the UN, local and international organizations to respond to the unfolding crisis. The Moldovan Government has set up a Crisis Management Centre under the Prime Minister’s Office and a series of emergency accommodation centers are being established to support arrivals from Ukraine. Coordination is ongoing with partners (including new ones that are arriving), to ensure interventions are complementary to the response of the Government. On the 24th of February 2022, the Government of Moldova closed its airspace and announced a State of Emergency, allowing the authorities to establish a special regime of entry and exit from the country; special measures for the protection of refugees, the protection of the population of the Republic of Moldova and of the country’s institutions; and a special working regime for economic operators and public institutions. Entries are coming particularly from the southern and south-western parts of Ukraine, including the port city of Odessa. However, border crossings in the North are also seeing a high level of arrivals in need of humanitarian assistance. The situation is volatile and is changing rapidly. The majority of those coming in are women and children, while there are also some men coming through (elderly, single fathers or fathers of families of at least three children). There are also significant needs to support people with special needs (elderly, people with disabilities).
Moldova is Europe’s poorest country and with the least per capita income populated mainly in rural settlements and economically unable to respond to such a bulk of refugees without external aid.
In this framework, the Moldova Goverment and society are looking for solidarity and general assistance on the following gaps related with nutrition, shelter, protection, health, and hygiene of the refugees.
Identified Needs and Remaining Gaps:
■ Moldovan authorities are stretched to the limit and need urgent support.
■ Arrivals are increasing. Border sites are seeing an increase of protection needs, as they await transportation to sites. Psycho-social support is a gap.
■ Law Center for Advocates, a Moldovan NGO, states that waiting hours at the border in Palanca in the South can be over ten hours. Other challenges are cold weather and issues with documentation to cross.
■ Support to government on social assistance mechanisms and targeting of assistance (likely via cash-based transfers).
■ Protection, incl. GBV monitoring and referral support - requiring additional protection surge staff.
■ PSEA and gender mainstreaming needs to be fully embedded in response.
■ Lack of humanitarian health supplies. As border crossings become more crowded, the risk of the spread of disease is increasing. WASH facilities are needed.
■ Law Center for Advocates states that there are serious health concerns, also in the other border crossings beyond Palanca in the northern areas of Moldova. Disability support is needed.
■ Supporting Government in the provision of emergency health-care services and psycho-social counselling.
■ There is an urgent need for family kits.
■ Health supplies are needed for persons suffering from chronic diseases, including HIV/Aids.
■ Government needs to be supported on readiness to roll out the vaccination programme for Polio and Measles (sufficient stock is available in Moldova).
■ Most refugees stay in hotels or rented accommodation, while prices to stay are increasing in the country. In addition, as of the 6th of March, the Gov’t of Moldova has established around 74 temporary accommodations, hosting nearly 5,000 individuals. Several of these centres are calling for an urgent upgrade of their infrastructures (such as access to water and sanitation). More temporary accommodation is being identified, as the existing ones are exhausting their hosting capacity (currently at 82%).
■ There are urgent needs for equipment such as sleeping bags, single-use cutlery, phone chargers and Wi-Fi internet connection, heat pumps (8 additional pieces), and additional shower cabins (11 pieces).
■ Furthermore, there are needs for emergency shelter kits, cash-based assistance for rent as well as diapers for elderly persons.
■ Refurbishment and equipment for temporary placement centres and transportation services (to and from border crossing posts) are also urgently needed.
■ There is an urgent need for hygiene kits for children and babies.
■ Wheelchairs are needed too for children and handicapped refugee arrivals.
■ Resilience and livelihood planning is needed, also for Moldovan host population.
IBC-International Blue Crescent Response Program and Assesment Details
IBC International Blue Crescent has responded to the emergency needs of refugees coming from Ukraine since the beginning of the crisis, within the first week of March 2022.
IBC President Recep Uker and Vice President Muzaffer Baca paid a visit to the Secterary of State of Moldova, Ms. Zinaida Bezverhni and discussed cooperation with the Ministry for the Delivery of Medicine and Medical Equipment to Moldova and Ukraine. It was agreed that the Ministry will clear the medical Relief in borders to provide tax exemption and allocate its warehouses around Chisinau for the storage of medical consumables and medicine in their transit warehouse in Odessa. IBC has collected medical needs lists of Odessa Governorship, State Hospital of Comrat, and the Emergency Health response Department of the Autonomous Region of Gagauzian and signed relevant MOUs with all three authorities. The first shipments of medicine and medical equipment will begin before the end of March 2022.
In addition to the response program in Moldova, IBC contacted the Governorship of Odessa and signed an MOU for delivery of Emergency Relief including food, medicine, hygiene and shelter needs to Odessa Oblast through the Autonomous Region of Gaugazia through Basarabeasca and Ceadîr-Lunga Gates. Odessa Governorship will provide IBC with weekly needs reports and in cooperation with the Emergency Response Directorate of the Autonomous Region of Gaugazia those needs will be fulfilled as much as possible. Priority will be given to those who are displaced and on their way to Moldova in the Southwest of Ukraine especially from Mykolaiv, Odessa, Lviv, and Dnipro.
IBC has also signed an MOU with the Mayor of Comrat for assisting the Ukrainian refugees that are being accomodated by host families (around 3,000 refugees) and Reception Centers such as the one in Congaz, Gaugazia. The Municipality of Comrat allocated the Orphanage with a capacity of 150 beds in Congaz to the use of the Ukrainian refugees (for all ladies and children); IBC provided the bedding of those rooms and started food delivery for their daily consumption. A kitchen was established in the Reception Center and needs to be filled with food items on a daily basis. At a meeting with Comrat Mayor Sergey Anastasov, a budget of around $500,000 USD was drafted for the yearly needs of the reception center. In the framework of the MOU, The Municipality of Comrat allocated to IBC an office and warehouse in the municipality building. A distribution of 200 monthly food packages for Ukrainian refugees living with host families has been completed and similar distributions will be held on a continuous montly basis.
A meeting with the Head of the Gagauzian Emergency Response Department, which organizes emergency deliveries to the Ukraine border, Mr. Vitaly Dragoi, ended with an agreement for logistics assistance for emergency relief to the border town of Ukraine which was overwhelmed by IDPs as Reni, Bolhard and Ismayil where the shops are running out of food. Municipality services are having difficulty because of the overwhelming IDP population pouring in this region because it’s normally quiet. They will deliver any relief quantities that we can allocate by using their special status and they have access deep inside Odessa Oblast.
Agreement for Cooperation with the Moldova Trade Unions Federation has been reached for supporting three reception centers around Chisinau that are accomodating women and children refugees entering Moldova from the Palanka border gate. They allocated three sanatoriums belonging to the confederation for use by refugees and they accomodate around 500 families. Their basic needs are food commodities, bedding materials, and hygiene materials. IBC already started to provide those materials on a monthly basis.
Cooperation with the State Hospital of Gagauzia is secured. Through a visit to The General Director of the Hospital, Dr. Nina Railean it was agreed to cover their emergency medical needs to be able to respond to illnesses that the local community and refugee community are facing. The Ministry of Health of Moldova committed to covering the additional expenses that the influx of refugees caused but still they were not able to transfer any money so the hospital is having huge difficulty to cover basic services. Having 215 beds available for the patients, now they are facing problems to accommodate more patients, especially refugees who are applying for treatment—on average 30-35 persons per day. IBC is committed to covering a part of the medical equipment and medicine that they are in need of.
Visits to the border Gates of Basarabeasca and Ceadir-Lunga are being implemented in order to have on-site inspection of the situation. The border gates look over-crowded and reception tents are unable to respond to all needs especially for the transport of the elderly and poor refugees, they are in need of transport means. In this respect IBC is planning to buy two minibuses for the transport service of those refugees in need from Basarabeasca Gate.
In this respect IBC-International Blue Crescent has launched the following program where some activities are already started and some will be starting very soon, depending on the funding campaign.
Emergency Response Program Details and average budgets
Emergency monthly food packages distribution to 500 families living with host families in Comrat, Congaz, and Maidan, Moldova (40,000 USD per monthx6 months= $240,000 USD)
Cash or voucher distribution on those transiting through Moldova and stay 100 USD per person for a specific time. 500 families will be covered on monthly basis (100 USD per personx3 monthsx500 families= $150,000 USD)
Food,hygiene and winter/summer clothes support and bedding support to The Reception Center of Comrat Municipality in Congaz area and Sanatorium of Moldova Trade Unions Federation in Chisinau in order to get monthly food and hygiene commodities to treat the needs of 150 families that each are accomodating. (75,000 USD per reception centerx2x6 month= $900,000 USD)
Delivery of two containers of medical equipment and medicine that the State Hospital of Comrat and the Emergency Response Department of Gagauzia is requesting .The delivery will continue on a monthly basis (50,000 each containerx2x6= $600,000 USD)
Delivery of one container of medical supplies and one container of food supplies to Odessa Oblast. Medicine for Odessa, food for the IDPs pouring across the Moldova border in the South on a monthly basis (50,000 USDx6 months= $300,000 USD for Medical equipment and 400,00 USDx6= $240,000 USD for food in total $540,000 USD)
In total a budget of $2,430,000 USD (Program Start Date: 1st March 2022-End Date: 30th August 2022)
IBC’s operation will be directed from its headquarters in Istanbul. In Moldova, IBC Moldova Country team composed by 12 staff will take care of the general operations and logistics for the transit shipments to Ukraine.
IBC Local team in Ismail Ukraine will take care of delivery of medical equipment to Odessa and distribution of food items to IDPs along the Moldova border.
IBC is registered in Moldova with all legal and bureaucratic procedures completed.