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Update from our team in Ukraine: “A nerve-racking situation”

Koen Carlier - 12 February 2022

After our team meeting yesterday afternoon, where we prayed and went over the planning, I received one WhatsApp message after another in Dutch, Russian, English and even in Hebrew. The common message was: a Russian invasion in Ukraine can happen any moment now.

Of course we are monitoring the situation ourselves. We hear and see all sorts of things, especially during our trips and working visits to the (south) east of Ukraine. Over the past few days, we thought that the tensions had eased, until yesterday afternoon.

Although we are aware that many news reports are partly based on sensation, we are and will remain extremely vigilant. The Land of the North, as this area is called in the Bible, remains a boiling pot.

“There is a slight sense of panic, especially among the Jewish elderly who lived through the Second World War.”

We just had two hectic weeks during which our staff made all sorts of preparations to be able to help out in different places in Ukraine.

Running smoothly
Deliveries by wholesalers to various locations, packing and distributing food parcels, taking Jewish families to the airport for their departure to Israel, buying supplies for our campaign Meals on Wheels… Honestly, because of the busy schedule, I expected all sorts of things to go wrong, but fortunately everything went smoothly. Well begun is half done, as the proverb says!


The unrest has definitely increased and there is even a slight sense of panic, especially among the Jewish elderly who witnessed the World War II. Recently, we distributed 250 food parcels in the capital Kiev. Many Jewish elderly were present two hours in advance because they were afraid that there would not be enough for everyone.

“You did not experience the war”

When the food parcels were being distributed, we kindly asked people to wait for there turn. The response was: “You are young, you did not experienced the war, the hunger or looked death in the eye.”

At that moment, there is nothing left to say, when you know that a few kilometres away in Kiev, tens of thousands of Jews were shot and buried in the mass grave of Babi Yar during the Second World War. One has to stand firm in one’s shoes not to cry…

Emergency supply in Kiev
An additional emergency supply of 5,500 kg of food was delivered to Kiev last Thursday.Even the boss of the wholesaler came to check that everything was in order.

He invited us to his warehouse, so we could introduce ourselves to his employees, get a tour and discuss various possibilities for additional (emergency) deliveries over a cup of coffee. We hope that this relation will help us in the future!

What about the return?
So what about the return of Jews to Israel, you may wonder? That continues as well, and last week a number of families left for Israel permanently.

We are preparing ourselves in case there is a war in Ukraine. Early next week, we will receive more information about flights to Israel, which are scheduled for 21 February and after that.

Again, a number of Jewish families have decided to prepare their documents at the Israeli Embassy in Kiev in the hope of obtaining a visa. However, it is step by step and day by day, and the very tense situation may escalate, with unprecedented consequences and suffering.

Coming week
Next week, we will be meeting with the Jewish Agency in Kiev, where the person responsible for Eastern Ukraine will also be present, together with our partner organisations. At the request of the local rabbi, we also planned a working visit to Sumy in the north of Ukraine, near the Russian border. We will deliver a double shipment of food parcels to the mostly elderly members of the Jewish community.

Top priority
Our top priority now is to be able to order enough food in the different towns so that it can be delivered, packed and distributed quickly. Because of the tense situation, we will increase the number of food parcels to be distributed from 12,000 to 20,000.

We will of course keep you informed should there be any important developments here. Two Bible texts that I would like to share with you in this context are Jeremiah 16:14-16 and Proverbs 21:1.

A family gets ready to leave for the airport. Photo: C4I Ukraine


Are we considering leaving Ukraine ourselves? No, but we are preparing for the worst…

Thank you for your prayers and support for our work, the staff, the drivers and for the many faithful volunteers we can always count on.


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With your support we want to distribute 20,000 food parcels in different parts of Ukraine. Will you help? One food parcel costs 10 euros or 11 US $. Thank you for your support!

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