Israeli Aid Worker’s HeartBreaking Report: On the Ground with Refugees from Ukraine

Here’s the latest news…I spoke to Linor Attias, a relief worker in Moldova, helping refugees fleeing from Ukraine for Israel21C.

Israeli volunteers distributing food to Ukrainian refugees in Moldova. Photo courtesy of United Hatzalah of Israel

A delegation of 15 physicians, medics and paramedics from Israel’s voluntary emergency response organization, United Hatzalah, was the first international relief organization on the ground in Moldova, aiding about 70,000 refugees fleeing from Ukraine.

“We’re the only ones here,” said Linor Attias, a United Hatzalah emergency situation manager who arrived in Kishinev, the capitol of Moldova, on Sunday afternoon. (Tuesday, a team from Israeli humanitarian aid organization IsraAID arrived in the Moldovan town of Palanca.)

Reached by phone, Attias said there are an estimated 500,000 Ukrainian refugees who’ve fled into Poland, where other international relief organizations are helping them. Moldova is a less-developed country without as many resources, she said.

“Moldovan officials don’t know how to handle a civilian emergency like this but with our experience, we can help.”

The refugees have traveled by foot for days in freezing weather and snow to reach Ukraine’s border, Attias said.

Only women and children are allowed to cross into Moldova, however. Ukrainian men over 18 are not allowed to leave Ukraine and “must stay and fight. Once across the border, the women have no way to communicate with their husbands, fathers, brothers,” she said. “They don’t know if they’ll ever see them again.” The rest of the story is here.

About dianabletter

Diana Bletter is the author of several books, including The Invisible Thread: A Portrait of Jewish American Women (with photographs by Lori Grinker), shortlisted for a National Jewish Book Award. Her novel, A Remarkable Kindness, (HarperCollins) was published in 2015. She is the First Prize Winner of Moment Magazine's 2019 Fiction Contest. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, tabletmag, Glamour, The Forward, The North American Review, Times of Israel, and is a reporter for Israel21C, and many other publications. She is author of Big Up Yourself: It's About Time You Like Being You and The Mom Who Took off On Her Motorcycle, a memoir of her 10,000-mile motorcycle trip to Alaska and back to New York. She lives in a small beach village in Western Galilee, Israel, with her husband and family. She is a member of the local hevra kadisha, the burial circle, and a Muslim-Jewish-Christian-Druze women's group in the nearby town of Akko. And, she likes snowboarding and climbing trees.
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3 Responses to Israeli Aid Worker’s HeartBreaking Report: On the Ground with Refugees from Ukraine

  1. Tom Scott says:

    Thank you for sharing. What a tragedy in Ukraine. I am reminded of the story Mr. Rogers told of his mother advice:
    “When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, “Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.” To this day, especially in times of ‘disaster,’ I remember my mother’s words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world.”

    • dianabletter says:

      Thank you, Tom, for sharing that story. How fortunate for all of us that Mr. Rogers had such a wise mother. And yes, we have to look for the helpers in the disaster.

  2. Sydney Morris says:

    Oh Smouggie Israel is where god sent you. You are Jewish   That’s great you get to do fun things with your kids and so happy you’re being as shmouggie as you can. Give me a thought on one of your ski runs! And eat! Group hug!Xo

    Sent from the all new AOL app for iOS

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