Ukraine Crisis Update – Week of May 2nd - World Jewish Congress

Ukraine Crisis Update – Week of May 2nd

Ukraine Crisis Update – Week of May 2nd

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine continues to cause devastation and is still having severe ramifications for our communities. We continue to be in constant contact coordinating with our friends in both the VAAD of Ukraine and the Jewish Confederation of Ukraine.   

Thanks to the dedication of our WJC staff, working together with the VAAD, we were able to provide matzah to Jews in many parts of the country for Pesach, and a further shipment of food has arrived this week.   

The numbers of Jewish refugees currently in countries bordering Ukraine has significantly reduced, as many have made Aliyah or moved on to other countries, and at the moment hardly any new Jewish refugees are arriving.   

Unfortunately, we are receiving reports of Jews still in Mariupol, which has been coming under intense shelling in recent weeks, some of whom have been seeking shelter in the steel plant. 

We are continuing to coordinate efforts with various other Jewish organizations in the region in cooperation with our affiliated communities in trying to bring more relief to those in need. 

A summary of actions taken over the past weeks follows.       

Situation in Ukraine

For Passover, the WJC sent 5.8 tons of matzah to the VAAD of Ukraine and its affiliated communities and organizations for distribution. WJC also sent substantial amounts of food into Ukraine, with 7.5 tons of food having arrived in Kyiv this week, and now being distributed to the elderly and most vulnerable around Ukraine. 

The WJC also gave additional support to VAAD to assist with the relocation of Jewish families within Ukraine and to help to equip Jewish homes with supplies to care for the wounded.  As with the beginning of the confrontation, WJC is assisting those who remain in Ukraine and those who wish to leave. According to various sources, about 3,500 Jews out of the 20,000 who lived in Eastern Ukraine before the start of the 2014 war are still in that area. There are reports that some were forcibly transported to the Rostov region (in Russia) or to Crimea.     

The situation on the ground is particularly horrific in Mariupol, where over 400 Jewish families remain hiding in cellars, but sadly there is no way of helping those in Mariupol at this time.   In addition, in the Zaporozhye region, we understand that in the cities of Berdyansk, Melitopol, and Kherson, there are currently approximately 70 Jewish families, 450 and 2,500 Jews respectively whom the Vaad is assisting.  

Communities in Neighboring Countries and Efforts of Affiliated Communities

The numbers of Jewish refugees in the neighboring countries has diminished significantly as the vast majority have moved on either to Israel or to other communities, mostly in Europe.

Over Pesach, Sederim were hosted by a number of our affiliated communities, to enable refugees to celebrate the festival, despite being displaced from their homes.

WJC Jewish Diplomatic Corps Action

Members of the WJC JDCorps have continued to work with the WJC Ukraine Crisis Management Team to purchase and deliver medicine for the Ukrainian community

We continue to hope and pray for a resolution of the conflict, and to do whatever little we can to alleviate the situation.