More stars of the entertainment industry have backed our Refugees Welcome appeal to provide support for the millions of Ukrainian refugees who have fled their homes because of the Russian invasion.
Broadcaster and barrister Rob Rinder visited a train station close to the Polish-Ukrainian border and saw the scale of the disaster firsthand, including how the Red Cross, one of the charities backed by our appeal, was making a critical difference.
Rinder said: “I met mums with children, the elderly and the disabled arriving from Ukraine at a train station in Przemysl. Just a month ago, this was a train station like any other but now it is a refugee centre. The Red Cross have been providing round-the-clock health care and psychological support to people who fled the conflict.
“I saw Red Cross teams handing out food and essentials like blankets, hygiene kits and sleeping mats. Marta, a doctor for the Red Cross, explained that the organization has given medical help to 6,000 people since the crisis began. Marta works from a makeshift medical center set up in a primary school. She told me about a woman who had given birth in a bomb shelter in the Ukraine, who arrived at the center with her two-week old baby. It was the first time the new mum was able to sleep on a proper bed, use a ‘normal’ toilet and eat a proper meal since she’d given birth.”
Actor Jerome Flynn, known for his roles in Game of Thrones and Soldier Soldier, backed our support for World Vision, one of 13 UK charities that make up the Disasters Emergency Committee, which is being funded by our appeal.
He said: “More than half the children in Ukraine have been forced to flee their homes and the chaotic environment of life on the move means many are in extremely vulnerable situations. World Vision has been reaching people in Ukraine with emergency supplies since the conflict started, as well as getting medical supplies and equipment to hospitals.
“They also provide emergency shelter, food assistance and hygiene kits, and are rolling out child protection training. The immediate needs of those whose lives have been uprooted is huge, but it’s heartening to see people’s mental wellbeing also being addressed.”
The Independent has set up a petition calling on the UK government to be at the forefront of the international community offering aid and support to those in Ukraine. To sign the petition click here.
So far we have raised more than £400k along with our sister title, the Evening Standard. Together we are part of a much larger effort supporting the Disasters Emergency Committee Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal, which is bringing together leading UK aid charities.
The Independent has a proud history of campaigning for the rights of the most vulnerable, and we first ran our Refugees Welcome campaign during the war in Syria in 2015. Now, as we renew our campaign and launch this petition in the wake of the unfolding Ukrainian crisis, we are calling on the government to go further and faster to ensure help is delivered. To find out more about our Refugees Welcome campaign, click here. To sign the petition click here. If you would like to donate then please click here for our GoFundMe page.