Switzerland and UNDP support local communities in welcoming refugees from Ukraine

March 18, 2022

Refugee from Ukraine in Cărpineni village, Hîncești district. Photo: Igor Schimbător/UNDP Moldova

Since the onset of the Ukraine war and the flow of refugees from Ukraine into Moldova, local communities have mobilized to help provide a temporary home for those who left their country in a hurry to be safe. Guesthouses, small hotels and residents have opened their doors to families from Ukraine.

Switzerland and UNDP are providing $59,000 to support the communities that have made the greatest effort to host refugees. The first thirteen localities are to receive a total financial support of $20,000, in the framework of the "Migration and local development" project. The funds will reach out communities through hometown associations set up and developed with the support of Switzerland and UNDP. This is a first step in providing the necessary means for the active involvement of associations in supplying the equipment and supplies needed to accommodate and feed refugees in the partner localities.

The localities to benefit from support include Palanca (Ștefan Vodă), Cărpineni (Hîncești), Budești (Chișinău municipality), town of Cimișlia, town of Drochia, Geamăna (Anenii Noi), Mihăileni (Rîșcani), Selemet (Cimișlia), Sipoteni (Călărași), Taraclia (Căușeni), Manta, Slobozia Mare and Văleni (Cahul).

“Switzerland responded swiftly to the incoming flow of refugees from Ukraine. Moldovan people and authorities are extraordinarily generous and well organized, but external help is also needed. Switzerland's humanitarian aid package currently consists of three elements: sending relief supplies, deploying Swiss Humanitarian Aid Unit specialists, and providing financial resources to humanitarian organizations. Also, together with UNDP, Switzerland supports local authorities, communities and the hometown associations of migrants and diaspora to provide shelter and necessary protection to refugees,” said Caroline Tissot, Director of the Swiss Cooperation Office in Moldova:

UNDP, as part of the UN Moldova family, supports local communities and authorities in their humanitarian assistance efforts of providing accommodation and basic supplies to refugees from Ukraine.

“This is the time for solidarity and dignified welcome. UNDP has joined the UN system to support immediate efforts to protect and assist refugees. We are mobilizing ourselves to provide food, hygiene products and temporary accommodation and shelter to those fleeing the Ukraine and arriving in Moldova,” noted Dima Al-Khatib, UNDP Resident Representative to the Republic of Moldova.

Another $39,000 are to be distributed at the next stage in line with the needs of the project’s partner localities.

Switzerland and UNDP’s support complements the efforts of the Government of the Republic of Moldova in supporting refugees from Ukraine.

Hometown associations are also joining the national campaign "Moldova for Peace" and are consolidating on a joint platform, "My locality for peace". Each association supports local authorities and the community in providing the necessary assistance to refugees, from Ukraine, including by engaging Moldovan citizens living abroad.

"Our association is essential in the village of Sipoteni. During this time, help is even more welcome. So far, we have supported at least 120 people from Ukraine who needed accommodation, facilitated their contact with relatives abroad and helped them reach the border with Romania or other EU countries, where they were expected. Moreover, our hometown association has gained the trust of the Ukrainian diaspora in EU, and they are sending aid to the refugees accommodated in Moldova," says Vasile Rață, mayor of Sipoteni, Călărași.

There are over 160 hometown associations and initiative groups in the Republic of Moldova, which aim to contribute to the development of their locality, including with the support of the diaspora. The creation of associations was initiated by UNDP Moldova with the support of the Government of Switzerland.

For additional information: Dorin Toma, Manager of UNDP “Migration and local development” project, dorin.toma@undp.org, tel.: 069895067