Schintu (Red Cross): “In Ukraine I saw tragic scenes, the humanitarian corridors are not working”

Of Alessandro Vinci

The director of the Operations, Emergencies and Rescue Area of ​​the Italian Red Cross reported live on Instagram the outcome of the first humanitarian mission in the country. Soon the start of the recruitment of temporary volunteers

Ignazio Schintu he returned from Ukraine last Saturday, but he still has before his eyes the dramatic scenes he witnessed while passing through its territory. As director of the Operations, Emergency and Rescue Area of ​​the Italian Red Cross, he accompanied the first aid convoy prepared by the organization in favor of the populations affected by the war to Chernivtsi, about thirty kilometers from the Romanian border: four trucks full of medicines, provisions and blankets. In all probability the first of a long series.

“The mission was successful – he told Thursday onInstagram account of the Courier service
-, we managed to reach our destination and delivered all the basic necessities that we had transported from Italy. Those I have witnessed have been though tragic scenes: people who crossed the border on foot carrying only plastic bags. Women, the elderly, children and the disabled who left everything behind. Abandoned villages, men left to defend the territory with simple hunting shotguns. In my life I have seen many, but these images have particularly struck me. It is about Europeans who until a few days earlier lived relatively quietly and they would never have imagined finding themselves in a similar situation ».

“Biblical Exodus”

Words – those of Schintu – which well describe the importance ofrefugee emergency currently underway: the UN called it “the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War” and estimated that it could come to concern up to five million Ukrainians. «We spoke to some of those we saw leaving – the director still remembers -: they were all very tried. Today there is no security in the country and the humanitarian corridors are not functioning“.

The role of the Red Cross is therefore even more crucial: “In areas besieged by the Russians, where there is a lack of water and electricity, our colleagues are struggling to evacuate civilians – explains -. People are dying, but they will continue to comfort everyone as long as it is needed. Evidently they have found a strength that can only be obtained in those moments, otherwise there is no explanation ».

According to Schintu, therefore, that of the five million is not a risky prediction: «We are faced with a biblical exodus – he affirms -, therefore we must equip ourselves both to support the refugees along the border and to welcome them in Italy and in Europe ». Their drama, however, can be said to be over only when they return to their homes: “We cannot think that all these people have no experience behind them, that they do not come from local communities that will necessarily need to be reconstituted for a complete return to normality “.

The next steps

As the unsuccessful outcome of the peace negotiations in Turkey suggests, that of the Red Cross in Ukraine will be a commitment that will last over time. Because of this cash donations will continue to be essential to face the emergency with the necessary flexibility: “In the last few hours, at the request of the Ukrainian Red Cross, we bought 50 generators – reveals Schintu -: they will leave on Sunday aboard seven articulated lorries that they will transport hundreds of tons of other aid. But maybe later on there will be no food for the children, and having liquidity available will allow us to satisfy that need too ».

The biggest news, however, is another: the upcoming construction of a logistics hub in Suceava, in the north-east of Romania, consisting of four tensile structures for a total of 1,000 square meters covered. Total investment: about half a million euros. «It is money well spent – assures the director – because this base, equipped with everything for the movement of vehicles loaded with aid in the Ukrainian territory, will be useful both immediately and for a long time. But we don’t want to stop there: we are making important progress and we aim to organize at least two transports per week with several trucks at a time“.

Off to the recruitment of temporary volunteers

The generosity of the Italians was not lacking this time too. The over three million euros already raised from the subscription of Corriere della Sera And TgLa7
“Help immediately”, of which the Italian Red Cross is the first beneficiary: “Thank you very much from us but above all from those people who will receive help thanks to your generosity – comments Schintu -. What you are doing leaves us speechless. In fact, citizens often ask themselves: “Who knows where my donation went”. It’s very simple, everything is always visible and tangible. Without a fundraiser, for example, imagining a hub like the one in Suceava would have been impossible, and more will arise in the future. There is no need to donate millions of euros, even a cent is enough. We guarantee you that she will arrive at your destination ».

Finally, a piece of advice for anyone interested in joining the Red Cross in this particularly delicate period: «Keep an eye on the our site – declares the director -. A recruitment campaign for temporary volunteers will start in the next few hours which will provide for faster procedures to become members of our association “. The perfect opportunity to become part of a history of over a hundred years: «We were born in Solferino in 1859 – he concludes – and since then we have been present in all situations of conflict and emergency. Our symbol is universally recognized because we guarantee aid to everyone, without distinction, and it is right that it should be so. As I have seen even in the poorest countries in the world, the little cross we wear gives hope to anyone who meets it“.

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