Italy – "Salesians for Social APS" starts coordination for reception of Ukrainian refugees

03 March 2022

(ANS - Rome) - "Salesiani per il Sociale APS", the civil entity that in Italy expresses the charismatic dimension of the Salesians to take care of young people at risk, announced that it shall coordinate the reception of Ukrainian refugees. In agreement with government authorities, it will manage the reception of Ukrainian mothers and families fleeing the war at Salesian houses that offer their availability.

While the countries closest to Ukraine have already received several thousand people - almost all women, children, the elderly - who have crossed Ukraine's western border, the rest of Europe is also mobilizing through dedicated convoys and preferential corridors to offer hospitality to fleeing Ukrainians.

This is because the mass flight from the country at war is a rapid and unprecedented phenomenon: in fact, the estimate of people who have left Ukraine since the conflict broke out a week ago has risen to 1 million. This was announced on Twitter by Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees, who commented on the figure with a new call for peace: "For many more millions of people in Ukraine, it is time for the guns to fall silent so that life-saving humanitarian assistance can be provided.”

The exodus of Ukrainians, for speed, is unprecedented in this century. By the count of the U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees, more than 2 percent of the population -  44 million citizens – has been on the move in less than a week. And a UN agency estimate indicates that up to 4 million people could leave Ukraine.

UNHCR figures counted 934,000 refugees as of yesterday afternoon, March 2: of those, more than 505,000 crossed the border into Poland, while more than 116,000 went to Hungary. Moldova took in over 79,000 refugees, and Slovakia 71,200. But the agency then received estimates of additional arrivals over the rest of the day, into the evening.

Just yesterday, in the face of this situation, at the end of the Wednesday general audience, Pope Francis publicly praised Polish authorities and people: "You are the first ones who have supported Ukraine opening your borders, your hearts, the doors of your homes to the Ukrainians who are escaping the war. You are generously offering everything that is necessary so that they can live in a dignified way despite the dramatic moment. I am profoundly grateful, and I bless you from my heart!"

Syria, where civil war broke out in 2011, is so far the country with the highest number of people who have left the country: more than 5.6 million people, according to UNHCR data; but it took at least 3 months for refugees to reach 1 million. Shabia Mantoo, spokeswoman for UNHCR, said that if the migration phenomenon maintains this pace, the exodus from Ukraine could become the "biggest refugee crisis of this century."

Before such a human tragedy of these proportions, the Salesians of Italy have immediately given a mandate to "Salesiani per il Sociale APS" to activate themselves to welcome, according to what will be established also at a national level, the Ukrainian refugees.

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ANS - “Agenzia iNfo Salesiana” is a on-line almost daily publication, the communication agency of the Salesian Congregation enrolled in the Press Register of the Tibunal of Rome as n 153/2007.

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