Donbas people affected by war get EUR 15 mln aid from Pope
KYIV. Nov 17 (Interfax-Ukraine) - The people affected by fighting in Donbas have received over EUR 15 million of humanitarian aid from the Pope.
"This action was announced so that Ukrainians do not feel lonely and abandoned. It was intended for those who are victims of the war in the east, for those spheres where people simply had to survive," the Apostolic Nuncio of Ukraine, Archbishop Claudio Gugerotti told an Interfax-Ukraine press conference in Kyiv on Saturday.
The money was raised at Catholic churches across Europe at the call of Pope Francis, he said.
"The result was very generous: over EUR 11 million to which the Pope added another 5 million of his own funds," Gugerotti said.
Bishop Eduard Kava, the Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Lviv said that of the raised sum EUR 6.2 million was spent on warming houses and social facilities in Donbas: solid-fuel boilers were installed, buildings insulated, houses restored. Some 107,000 Donbas residents benefited from this type of aid.
Another EUR 2.4 million was used on medical treatment of 440,000 victims and EUR 5.7 million paid for food supplies and essentials.
Furthermore, EUR 1 million was used for psychosocial support for the children and their parents through psychological rehabilitation centers and to organize relevant children's camps.
Thus, the total sum sent for helping Donbas victims amounted to EUR 15.3 million.
The organizers were able to use it freely in the Ukraine-controlled part of Donbas but struggled when they tried to help people living in the occupied parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, Kava said.
"For a long time we were looking for a possibility to get in there with the aid which was realized in very small amounts through our parishes... It was only a half a year ago that we were able to agree with the Red Cross, the only international organization which can operate there," Kava said.
"Now they are implementing, on our behalf, the project aimed at delivering food and medications to the people since none of the possibilities we used yielded a result," he said.