Christoph Strässer, Germany’s Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid, and Polish Undersecretary of State Konrad Pawlik jointly saw off the German-Polish convoy taking relief supplies to eastern Ukraine on 16 June. It was evening when the convoy left Kyiv for the town of Zaporizhia, to bring relief supplies to people who have been particularly hard hit by the ongoing conflict.
The convoy is laden with supplies for more than 11,000 internally displaced persons in eastern Ukraine. The Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid welcomed this joint humanitarian initiative by Poland and Germany. It was, he said, “a sign of our joint commitment for the destitute people in Ukraine. It is a matter of urgency to us to help alleviate this awful humanitarian emergency and to save lives.”
Food and hygiene items for 11,000 people
Many people are reliant on humanitarian assistance following months of fighting between pro-Russian separatists and the Ukrainian army in eastern Ukraine. The German‑Polish initiative is intended to help alleviate the suffering of those worst hit.
The humanitarian supplies from Poland and Germany were pooled together in Kyiv on 16 June. The convoy of lorries set off in the late afternoon to drive the boxes of food and hygiene items to the east of the country overnight. Once the goods arrive, the charitable organisation Caritas and its local partners will ensure that the urgently awaited supplies reach the people who need it, in particular children, the elderly and those in ill health.
Caritas Ukraine is one of the largest private charities in the country. It is currently implementing a project financed by the Federal Foreign Office to meet the basic needs of 26,700 people in eastern Ukraine and secure their longer‑term subsistence.
The German‑Polish aid convoy is jointly financed by the Foreign Ministries of Poland and Germany. The Federal Foreign Office contribution totalled 350,000 euros. “In this severe crisis it is our moral duty to help people look after themselves and live in dignity no matter what difficulties they face,” said Christoph Strässer.
Foreign Minister Steinmeier himself was in Dnipropetrovsk just recently to see with his own eyes the situation faced by the internally displaced persons. Some 90,000 people have sought shelter in the town. Several hundred of them are living in mobile homes provided by Germany.