As the war continues across eastern Ukraine, about 1.5 million people have been displaced by the fighting. The streets are filled with “merciless devastation of civilian lives and infrastructure”. People have run out of basic necessities and are now fighting for food and water. Bread, that is delivered only once a week, is gone within an hour!
On Tuesday, March 3, 2015 a Reuters News report stated, “Due to the economic wreckage from the conflict in Russia, Ukraine took drastic action and raised refinancing rates from 19.5% to 30%”*, the highest rate in the world! In addition, the government passed a bill to hike utility prices and more. For example, last year at this time the exchange rate was $1 US = $8 Hrivnia. As of March 6, 2015 it sits at $1 US = $24 Hrivnia, and a week ago it was almost $1 US = $40 Hrivna. (*http://www.reuters.com/article/2015/03/06/ukraine-bonds-idUSL5N0W71TT20150306)
The people of Ukraine are pleading for the fighting to stop. “There’s just nowhere else to go. We have two children and couldn’t evacuate them. Please, agree to any possible peace offer. We can’t live like this anymore!” (http://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-31109503)
Although the fighting has not spread to Odessa, the increase in rates of all necessities is seriously affecting our ministry. Food costs, utilities, building materials for Hope House II, bus passes for the girls – everything is more expensive.
In speaking with Sergiy Svystun, President of World Hope Ukraine about the devastation and how it is affecting our work, he said, “Yesterday all public transportation went from $3 Hrivnia to $5 Hrivnia in the city [an increase of 66%]. In the outside of the city, where the Hope House girls attend college, the rates went from $12Hrivnia/day to $25Hrivnia/day [an increase of 208%]. All utility prices have been raised three times from what they were and we have been told they will continue to rise every three months. It is difficult to heat big buildings like Hope House that are heated with natural gas. On warm days, we turn off the heat but I am scared for next winter. “
“On a positive note, World Hope partnered with the Baptist District in the Odessa area to provide hot meals to the many refugees living in Odessa. First Step Center is seeing 20-30 children/day and we provide them with food, homework assistance, stationary, medical supplies, clothing and help them get proper documentation. That is very important in Ukraine. And Ukrainian people have never been so united. From the west to the north, people are joining together to help one another and stay safe. All people are against this war and the aggressor.”
How can you help?
We are so grateful for your support of our work in Ukraine! You can give to any of the following ministries and feel good about the fact that you are helping to care for at-risk kids and youth and families struggling from the ravages of war.
We serve a great God who sees everything; each need and each act of kindness. We know that with your prayer and support, we can continue to help those in need in Ukraine.