THOUSANDS of Ukrainian refugees will be given food, warm clothing and a place to stay, thanks to a £50,000 grant to the British Red Cross from Cumbria Freemasons and other Provinces.
The Masonic Charitable Foundation and the United Grand Lodge of England have been monitoring the growing refugee crisis of over a million Ukrainian people who have been forced from their country and hundreds of thousands more who have been internally displaced from their homes.
As the situation deteriorates, trains leaving major cities for the border are packed. Huge queues are growing at border crossing points with reports of many families waiting days in freezing temperatures to reach neighbouring states. If the situation continues to worsen, the UN Refugee Agency has said it fears millions more people could end up seeking safety in other countries.
Red Cross teams in neighbouring countries including Poland, Moldova, Slovakia and Romania, have been providing urgent support to refugees. In Poland, where hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have already sought safety, the Polish Red Cross has begun to establish temporary accommodation centres for new arrivals which can hold up to 400 people each.
In addition to shelter, Red Cross teams are also providing food, hygiene items and warm clothing to those arriving.
Luke Tredget, Head of Emergencies, Surge and Technical Advisory from the Red Cross said: “We’re very grateful to the Freemasons for this generous grant which makes a major contribution to the Red Cross relief effort for Ukrainian refugees.
“Most of those fleeing the fighting are women and children who have been queueing on the border in sub-zero temperatures for as long as 60 hours. They’re in urgent need of support and the Red Cross has teams on the ground doing everything possible to help.”
Bill Bewley, Head of Cumbria Freemasons, said: “I’m very pleased we’ve been able to help the British Red Cross in their relief effort for the hundreds of thousands of refugees running from the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
"These poor people are cold, hungry and utterly exhausted and I’m proud that Freemasons are able to assist in providing the support they need.”