Thousands of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of their country will receive food, warm clothing and shelter, thanks to a £50,000 grant to the British Red Cross from Freemasons in Cambridgeshire and other provinces .
The Masonic Charitable Foundation (MCF, the Freemasons’ Charity) and the United Grand Lodge of England (UGLE) are monitoring the growing refugee crisis of over a million Ukrainians who have been forced to leave their country and hundreds of thousands more who have been internally displaced.
As the situation in Ukraine deteriorates, trains leaving major cities like kyiv for the border are packed. Huge queues are growing at border crossings with reports of many families waiting days in freezing temperatures to reach neighboring states.
If the situation continues to worsen, the UN Refugee Agency said it fears millions more people will end up seeking safety in other countries.
Already, Red Cross teams in neighboring countries, including Poland, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania, have provided emergency aid to these refugees.
In Poland, where hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have already sought refuge, the Polish Red Cross has started to establish temporary accommodation centers for new arrivals that can accommodate up to 400 people each.
Similar responses have started in Moldova, where in Chisinau the Moldovan Red Cross has opened a shelter for up to 800 people, and in Slovakia, where the Slovak Red Cross has set up tents to accommodate arrivals at the Ubla border crossing.
In addition to shelter, Red Cross teams are also providing food, hygiene items and warm clothing to those arriving. The Romanian Red Cross has deployed volunteers from its branches along the border to distribute food, water, basic necessities and hygiene products to people in need.
In Hungary, the Red Cross has 300 volunteers ready to help people crossing the border, many of whom prepare packages containing bedding and hygiene items, and set up information and first aid points .
Cambridgeshire Freemasons contributed to the grant through the Masonic Charitable Foundation, which is funded by Freemasons, their families and friends, from across England and Wales.
Luke Tredget, Red Cross Emergencies, Emergencies and Technical Advice Manager, said: “We are so grateful to Freemasons for this generous grant which makes a major contribution to the Red Cross relief effort. Red for Ukrainian refugees.
“Most of those fleeing the fighting are women and children who have been queuing at the border in sub-zero temperatures for 60 hours. They urgently need support and the Red Cross has teams on the ground doing all they can to help them.
David Cameron of Cambridgeshire Freemasons said: “I am very pleased that we have been able to help the British Red Cross in their relief efforts for the hundreds of thousands of refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
“These poor people are cold, hungry and completely exhausted and I am proud that Freemasons are able to help provide the support they need.”
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