World Refugee Day will probably not include Ukraine

By June 16, 2014
(Image courtesy Christian Aid)

(Image courtesy Christian Aid)

Ukraine (MNN) — Though the week is only beginning, it’s a pretty safe bet that Ukraine won’t be one of the countries highlighted during World Refugee Day. The number of people fleeing violence in eastern Ukraine pales in comparison to countries like Syria, Iraq, and Nigeria. Nonetheless, it is a situation deserving concern.

Last week, reports began to surface of an increasingly-desperate situation in eastern Ukraine.

According to OOSKANews, a specialist publisher of international water sector and water-related news, Ukraine’s army stands accused of shutting down water supply to Donetsk and Slovyansk. In addition, believers in Slovyansk were taken hostage last week and reportedly used as human shields.

As supplies run low and conditions worsen, more families are being forced to flee. UNHCR, the United Nations’ refugee agency, estimates that there are currently more than 17,500 internally displaced people (IDPs) in Ukraine.

With no money and “bigger fish to fry,” Ukraine’s officials are leaving the care of displaced people to churches and other non-governmental organizations.

(Photo cred: Russian Ministries)

(Photo credit: Russian Ministries)

A church in Novopetrovka supported by Russian Ministries made room for 40 refugees last week, and another 15 are expected to join them soon. These families are coming from four churches in the Donetsk Region, where fighting is the heaviest.

According to Russian Ministries, local Next Generation Christian leaders came with food just as the refugees’ supplies were running out after three days in the center. Food, hygiene items, clothing, and much more are desperately needed by these and other refugees, as well as fellowship and encouragement.

While believers are doing whatever they can to meet needs, as an extension of Christ’s love, the number of people needing help is only going to grow. Help Ukrainian Christians care for the needs of refugees here.

The church isn’t just providing for physical needs: they’re also sharing the hope of Christ. In times of crisis, the Good News shines even brighter.

Will you add the people of Ukraine and Russian Ministries to your prayer list?

Please pray that supplies will be provided to Ukrainian churches caring for refugees. Pray for the safe return of believers kidnapped by separatists in Slovyansk. Pray that fighting in eastern Ukraine will stop.

See how the Ukraine crisis escalated from December 2013 to now.

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