Israel building refugee aid centers on Ukraine's border

One Israeli effort is a refugee aid center that will serve all Ukrainians escaping the war in their country, Jewish or not, with an emphasis on providing them with winter gear.

 Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, 3/6/2022. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)
Finance Minister Avigdor Liberman, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, and Prime Minister Naftali Bennett, 3/6/2022.
(photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM)

Israel is moving to build refugee aid centers on Ukraine's western border, among other forms of aid to be sent this week.

Foreign Minister Yair Lapid instructed the ministry and MASHAV, Israel's development and aid agency, to focus on four main areas of humanitarian aid.

One is a refugee aid center that will serve all Ukrainians escaping the war in their country, Jewish or not, with an emphasis on providing them with winter gear.

Read more on the Russia-Ukraine War:

In addition, a field hospital is to be erected in Lviv in the coming days by the Health Ministry, Sheba Medical Center and the Clalit HMO.

The field hospital will include maternity and pediatric wards, an emergency room and a telemedicine area that will allow doctors in Israel to help refugees over the Internet.

 WORKERS LOAD packages of Israeli humanitarian aid destined for Ukraine, at Ben-Gurion Airport this week. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS) WORKERS LOAD packages of Israeli humanitarian aid destined for Ukraine, at Ben-Gurion Airport this week. (credit: AMMAR AWAD/REUTERS)

Ahead of the medical delegation’s departure, Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz visited the group at Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, expressing his excitement for their imminent departure.

“This is an expression of solidarity, and of our standing alongside the Ukrainian people in their most difficult hours in the fact of a brutal Russian invasion,” he said, addressing the group.

“What is happening in Ukraine is a huge humanitarian catastrophe and unfortunately it seems that the Israeli delegation will have a lot of work to do. This is the least we can do as human beings for the sake of other human beings.

“Just as we want others to come to our aid in times of distress, we too have a moral obligation to do so for other people and countries.”

An additional delegation of doctors departed Israel for southern Poland on Monday evening in order to assist refugees crossing the Ukrainian border, Hadassah-University Medical Center announced.

The emergency delegation of Hadassah Medical Center doctors will consist of four doctors at first, although more are expected to join them further down the line. They are set to leave Israel on Monday night and will arrive in southern Poland on Tuesday.

From there, they will assist refugees crossing the border who are in urgent need of medical assistance and will work alongside the medical staff of the Lublin University Hospital.

The delegation will train the local medical staff in how to locate and treat trauma victims, in addition to assessing the resources available and the needs of each individual refugee seeking assistance.

The main challenge they expect to face is the sheer number of refugees seeking assistance, as there are concerns that they will exceed the hospital's capacity. An estimated 500,000-700,000 Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland since the war began.

The delegation consists of experts in various fields including general surgery, trauma, orthopedics and internal medicine. They will also be bringing $25,000 of medical equipment with them, provided by generous donors to the hospital.

Additionally, the hospital reported, both the Ein Kerem and Mount Scopus hospital campuses are preparing for an influx of Ukrainian refugees arriving in Israel.

Israel ordered six large generators for the hospital in Lviv, to allow it to operate continuously without electrical outages.

And finally, Israel will be in contact with the Ukrainian authorities and bordering countries about the humanitarian aid they need.

The new aid packages are in addition to the 100 tons of humanitarian aid, including 17 tons of medicines and medical equipment, that Israel sent last week.

About 10,200 Israelis left Ukraine in the past three weeks and about 2,000 remain, the Foreign Ministry said on Sunday. 

Schneider Children’s Medical Center for Israel announced on Saturday evening that they would be sending a medical delegation to the Ukrainian border in order to assist children evacuating the warzone.

The delegation, which will include ten staff members, will join groups already sent by the foreign and health ministries and will be solely responsible for providing pediatric medical care at the field hospital.

Ahead of the delegation’s departure, the medical center will be operating a collection center for life-saving medicine, and in particular, medicine for children with cystic fibrosis (CF).

The war in Ukraine has severely disrupted the supply of medicines to those in need, and the longer the war continues the more urgent the need to provide medicine becomes. The medicine will be collected in coordination with the CF Association and will be delivered to Ukraine after undergoing a clinical quality control check.

“CF is a very serious disease that affects many systems in the body and causes severe damage to lung and pancreatic function, with the main damage being to the respiratory and digestive systems,” explains Dr. Dario Price, director of the Institute of Lung Medicine at Schneider.

“The life-threatening part is the lung disease which causes the disease to progress rapidly. The drugs that patients receive are life-saving drugs, without which they will not last long.”

Additionally, the center is also preparing to receive children previously hospitalized in Kyiv and now en-route to Israel. In the coming days, a special medical flight is expected to land in Israel from Ukraine, and the children, along with their medical staff, will be transferred to the Schneider Center.

“We at Schneider believe and know that children, wherever they are, are our future in Israel and around the world,” says Schneider Center director Efrat Baron Harlev. “We are proud to be part of this delegation and hope for better days.”

The Foreign Ministry established a Contribution Coordination Center in order to deal with the many initiatives to help Ukrainians coming from Israeli civil society, in addition to the government-funded humanitarian aid.

Ambassador Daniel Meron, who was most recently in the Czech Republic, will be responsible for connecting Israeli civil society to aid efforts by the government’s and international organizations active in Ukraine and on its borders.