Thanks to Pope Francis over 2 million people affected by the humanitarian crisis in eastern Ukraine will receive a first installment of much needed aid in time for Christmas, Vatican Radio informs.
A communiqué released by the Papal charitable office ‘Cor Unum’ reveals that about 6 million euros, out of the 12 million that have been collected so far, will reach vulnerable people in the regions of Donetsk and Lugansk, Zaporozhe, Kharkiv and Dnepropetrovsk.
The press release points out that aid will be distributed regardless of religion or ethnic group.
The money was collected by Catholic churches across Europe in response to a personal appeal by the Pope for a collection on April 24, 2016, in aid of Ukrainians affected by the conflict in the east of the nation.
He then set up a committee presided over ‘in loco’ by the Auxiliary Bishop of Kharkiv- Zaporozhe, Jan Sobilo, and coordinated by the Apostolic Nuncio in Ukraine, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti, to oversee the distribution of the funds.
The committee has since selected and evaluated a series of aid programmes presented by Christian and international humanitarian organizations.
So far it has decided to fund 20 large-scale projects and 39 smaller ‘solidarity’ initiatives.
In collaboration with the Apostolic Nunciature, the money will be used to fund food, housing, medical and health care projects.
According to a recent UNHCR report, the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine has killed 9758 people and injured almost 23000 since it began in mid-2014.