Escape to Romania

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There is no end in sight to the war in Ukraine. Those who can, are fleeing. In Brașov, Romania, the Solidar partner organisation Migrant Integration Center supports the refugees.

Maya Khromkh fled the bombs in her home town of Odessa in Ukraine.

While the team runs from car window to car window, children play amidst the avalanche of cars. Exhausted faces pull on cigarettes, tired legs stretch their feet. Most of the cars are packed to the top with the belongings that could be taken from home. Maya Khromkh and her husband have been on the road for four days. A few hours before bombs fell on their house in Odessa, they had packed their suitcases. “We want to visit a friend in Germany,” says the 62-year-old. “We had to leave my son and his pregnant wife behind.” He is not allowed to leave because conscripted men are not allowed to leave Ukraine. “We pray that this war will be over quickly, that Putin will withdraw his troops. Ukraine is our home and that’s where we want to go back to,” she says through tears.

There is no end in sight to the war. Those who can are fleeing. Europe is showing great solidarity in this. The centre of Romania is home to the organisation Migrant Integration Center of Brașov – the second partner organisation with which Solidar Suisse works. Outside the city centre, the organisation, in cooperation with the local authorities and the social welfare service, has opened a centre for arriving Ukrainians within a few days, in a commercial building that was until recently a vaccination centre. 275 people were registered here in the first two days, mostly women and children. Many Ukrainians arrive in Brașov because they are picked up by buses, some of them by volunteers, directly from the border crossings with Romania and brought here. “We have heard from the Ukrainian community that the word is out that help is being given here. That’s why there is so much interest in this place,” says Corina Tapuc from Migrant Integration Center. She and Astrid Hamberger are running the centre as long as it is needed.

What they have put together in a very short time is impressive: from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Ukrainians can register here, warm up, rest, get food and medical care, or stay overnight if they have not yet found accommodation in Brașov. Even for children, a separate room has been prepared where they can distract themselves with volunteers. “It is important that the people who arrive here know that they are safe,” says Corina Tapuc.

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