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Foreign Minister Paet: everyone in Estonia can help the victims of the violence in eastern Ukraine

1. October 2014 - 19:54

Foreign Minister Urmas Paet emphasized the joint contribution made by Estonia’s non-government organisations in helping people that have been internally displaced due to the conflict in Ukraine and recognised the joint initiative of the NGOs “For the good of Ukraine”.

“The campaign, which was started thanks to the initiative of Estonian NGOs, provides the opportunity for anyone in Estonia to contribute what they are able in order to assist Ukrainians. This is in addition to the aid provided by the Estonian state,” Foreign Minister Paet said, highlighting the strength of Estonia’s civil society and the desire to jointly help those in need. “All other NGOs, who have a specific humanitarian cooperation plans, are welcome to join the aid campaign coordinated by the NGO Estonian Refugee Council,” the Foreign Minister added.

Foreign Minister Paet stated that the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine is difficult. “The number of internally displaced people is increasing day by day. The most recent figures show that nearly 300 000 internally displaced people have had to leave their homes, most of whom are women, children and the elderly,” the Foreign Minister said. Those struggling need food, as well as medical care and the basics for survival.

The conflict has directly affected more than 5 million people. Nearly three-quarters of the people who have had to leave their homes live with relatives or friends, but many are also forced to live in so-called collective centres without heating in very meagre living conditions. Similarly, the situation is very difficult in children’s institutions. There is a great shortage of food and with winter approaching, the situation for displaced people will become even more serious – there is a shortage of blankets, warm clothes and heating equipment.

The joint campaign of the non-governmental organisations’ the Estonian Refugee Council, Mondo and the Ukrainian Cultural Centre “For the good of Ukraine!” will involve collecting donations during the month of October for three humanitarian projects to help Ukraine's internally displaced people and victims of the conflict. The donations will be directed to the largest destination for the internally displaced in Zaporizhia Oblast in order to provide people with everyday necessities, food aid to the Luhansk region and medical assistance to local hospitals, as well as medical assistance to support victims of the conflict and their families. It is possible to support the three projects via the website and to monitor their progress and fruition. The organisations will begin providing aid in Ukraine in November at the latest.

There are also a number of other NGOs who have initiated fundraising campaigns in support of Ukraine. The Estonian National Opera is organising a charity gala concert on October 20, “Estonia for the Good of Ukraine” with proceeds going towards the purchase of a new Estonia piano for students of the Slovjanski School of Fine Arts. The Estonian Red Cross is also collecting donations in support of Ukraine.

Foreign Minister Paet said that Estonia will continue to do its part to assist Ukraine in order to cover both short-term humanitarian needs and long-term activities of based on Ukraine's needs. Since the outbreak of the conflict in Ukraine, Estonia has provided a total of 325,000 euros worth of humanitarian aid. We also plan to send 80 000 euros worth of food aid via the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Estonia has also taken on the treatment of people injured in the conflict.
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