CNEWA asks Canadians to show solidarity with victims of Ukraine flood
Context guest column: As we are understandably awash in stories about coronavirus, civil injustice and unrest, protests, and fears of a ‘second pandemic wave,’ take a moment to pray for victims of floods throughout Ukraine.
Papal agency collects funds for religious organizations providing humanitarian relief services, as well as pastoral care, throughout Western Ukraine
Ottawa, July 9, 2020 – Catholic Near East Welfare Association invites Canadians to remember victims of the worst floods to hit Western Ukraine since 2008. On June 30, just a few days after the floods submerged more than 300 towns and villages in the region, CNEWA began accepting donations that will go to deliver food, fresh water, shelter and spiritual support to those most in need.
“These are excruciatingly difficult times for the people of Western Ukraine,” said Carl Hétu, national director of CNEWA Canada. “First an economic crisis accentuated by war and conflict and now the pandemic and floods. Families and the elderly are especially suffering. We’ve been working with the Ukrainian Catholic Church for more than 28 years and we are confident they will reach those most in need. We invite all those who can to contribute, and everyone to join in prayers for the many who have lost everything.”
In 2008 CNEWA collected $85,000 to help people devastated by a similar flood in Western Ukraine.
On June 26, Archbishop Sviatoslav Shevchuk, head of the Ukrainian Catholic Church, launched a global appeal asking members of his church to rally support for the victims of the disaster.
“I appeal to all communities of our Church in Ukraine and throughout the world to support those who are now deprived of their home and have come face-to-face with misfortune,” said Shevchuk. “I direct my request to the world community and to international humanitarian organizations: be open to respond to the needs of those who have become victims of the disaster that has afflicted regions in Western Ukraine.”
With rivers rising as much as three meters above normal levels, the floods have devastated thousands of families as well as roads, bridges, dams and property.
Environmental experts have joined a chorus of local residents in laying at least part of the blame for the floods on excessive logging and deforestation. According to a BBC article, there has been a threefold increase in logging on mountain peaks in the Carpathians since 2001. Worse of all, up to a third of all logging in Ukraine is believed to be unreported and outside of government regulations.
Donations can be made online at cnewa.ca, selecting Ukraine as the recipient region for the gift, or by phone at 1-866-322-4441. Cheques can be mailed to CNEWA Canada at 1247 Kilborn Place, Ottawa, ON K1H 6K9, marked “Ukraine floods”. Tax receipts will be issued for donations of $10 or more.
An agency of the Holy See, CNEWA works for, through and with the Eastern churches throughout the Middle East, Northeast Africa, India and Ukraine Founded by Pope Pius XI in 1926, CNEWA provides pastoral and humanitarian support to the churches and people of the East.