War-torn Ukraine struggles under COVID-19

By May 19, 2020

Ukraine (MNN) — A long civil war has left Ukraine in ruins, unable to mitigate a COVID-19 outbreak and its economic fallout.

The civil war in Ukraine drags on, leaving the population to live in a shelled-out ruin of what the country used to be. Eric Mock of Slavic Gospel Association says the war has almost become a way of life. “In many of the cities, the conflict continues. The shelling goes on. The gunfire and sniper action, that goes on from both sides. As a result of that, all of the infrastructure that was there can’t be rebuilt.”

Many people want to move out of the area, but don’t have the money. Mock says things have gotten worse under COVID-19 as the healthcare system gets overwhelmed and people suffer economically under the lockdowns. As of Monday, Ukraine had over 18,000 confirmed cases and over 500 deaths. However, many suspect actual numbers to be higher.

A Ukrainian church in the background with spent cartridges from the civil war in the foreground. (Photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons) 

Another wrinkle: as many countries close their borders, Ukraine has closed its internal border, the line separating government control from Russian control. Many people have been stranded as a result, cut off from their income.

Understanding the devastation

Mock struggles to explain to Christians in the West how bad things are in Ukraine. “You’re standing there with a person crying tears in utter hopelessness. You look around and you see the warning signs say, ‘Hey, this is a minefield, don’t walk into it.’ You see the destruction, you smell the decay.”

Mock says Christians in the West have a lot to be thankful for. But we also have a charge to care for orphans and widows. “We’re gathering support through a program called Christ over COVID. It is really fueling and equipping a network of churches that we already had a relationship with. We really didn’t have to do anything new. The churches in these 11 countries that we serve are already well positioned to reach their communities.”

This ministry brings weeks and months of food to impoverished families in the former Soviet Union. Already, Mock says, “By the end of this month, we’re seeing upwards of 425,000 individual meals provided to needy families, an incredible number.”

Mock encourages Christians to visit sga.org and sign up for prayer guides. “We put out a story every single day of what we’re seeing come in from those countries.” You can also take part in the Christ over COVID campaign to help feed desperate people in Ukraine and beyond.



Abandoned factory in Ukraine. (Poto courtesy of SofieLayla Thal from Pixabay)

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