“People have opened their homes and hearts to Ukrainians,” he said, in admiration for the hospitality being extended to refugees.
Home away from home
UN photo / Mark Garten
During his visit, the head of the United Nations stopped at a couple who were picking up refugees in their two-room apartment.
Vasiliy and Klavdia Turkanu, a retired couple, adopted a mother, daughter and grandmother– all the refugees from Nikolayev. And before that, they received two men from Odessa.
“We understand what they are going through,” Klavdia said sadly, making sure their guests were welcome to stay until the war was over.
“We become homesick when we travel. And they can’t return home“.
Her husband wondered, “why do people make war when they can live in peace and negotiate things amicably”.
Mr Guterres was impressed by their hospitality, admitting that “it is a powerfully emotional experience to deal with people forced to leave their homes in such dramatic circumstances”.
“Moldova can be an example of solidarity‘ he added.
Cash that works best
The head of the UN affirmed that in all situations, cash assistance is the best form of support.
“We are really grateful to Moldova and the United Nations for their help and support,” Lubov Fedorovna from Chernobayevka told the Secretary-General.
“Our village became famous for war when rockets literally flew over our heads,” she continued with tears streaming down her cheeks.
MoldExpo – Refugee Center
Temporarily settled in Moldova’s largest refugee center – on the exhibition grounds of MoldExpo – Irina, a mother of four from the Odessa region, couldn’t hold back her sobs.
“We left almost immediately when the war started, which really scared our kids. And yesterday we learned that our mall is completely dilapidated,” she told Mr. Guterres.
“I am impressed by the extraordinary generosity of the people and government of #Moldova. 95% of refugees are in houses. The Moldovan opened their borders but also opened their homes and hearts with great generosity, “- @antonioguterres pic.twitter.com/z5ousAxgs8
– UN Geneva (@UNGeneva) May 10, 2022
Since the start of the war, this and other reception centers have received nearly half a million refugees.
And at the height of the mass in Ukraine, the Chisinau complex was home to more than ten thousand people.
Although most have moved to different countries, about one hundred thousand people remain in Moldova.
The multi-layered crisis requires food, shelter, psychological support and medical assistance – issues familiar to the head of the UN during his years as the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
Moldova supports refugees with basic amenities with the help of the UN family – including UNHCR, UNICEF, Population Fund (UNFPA), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and the World Food Program (WFP).
What is unique about this crisis is that the refugees are mainly women and childrenUnited Nations Secretary-General commented
“Men are not allowed to leave Ukraine, women and children are alone and they are very vulnerable,” he said when speaking to NGOs working with UN Women.
“They can easily become victims of gender-based violence or human trafficking.”
With the cooperation of Moldova’s law enforcement and civil society agencies, the UN is doing everything to protect Ukrainians from such crimes.
The Center for Women Lawyers works at the border and warns women of possible dangers.
Its head, Mariana Buruiana, calls “perception” the main weapon against such crimes.
United Nations News discussed a recent complaint with the head of another organization, “La Strada”.
Elena Botezatu recounts that some staff members became suspicious when they noticed the way a man was treating his travel companion, a young woman.
“We immediately notified the anti-trafficking unit of the Moldovan police,” she said.
Although the war in Ukraine has put enormous pressure on Moldova’s economy, the head of the United Nations reminded that the country is not a member of the European Union and cannot count on support. their.
He assured President Maia Sandu during the meeting that the United Nations would not abandon Moldova and called on the international community to support the small European country, which has the largest number of refugees compared to the size of its population. it.
UN photo / Mark Garten
Despite his busy schedule, the Secretary-General took time to meet with Moldovan youth representatives.
Members of the United Nations Moldova Youth and Adolescent Advisory Board raised the important topic of young people leaving the country. en masse in search of a better life.
To stem the exodus, Mr. Guterres stressed the importance of ensuring certain conditions in their homeland, such as educational, work and financial independence.
Top UN official promises to mobilize international community to provide comprehensive support won by Moldova.