DETROIT (WXYZ) — A group of Ukrainian refugees traveling through Romania will soon arrive in metro Detroit. But before they do, a tremendous amount of work is already underway to ease their transition.
“Our team identified 19 children and 14 mothers traveling with us next week from a hospital near Kiev,” Samaritas Director Mihaela Mitrofan said.
For Mitrofan, each day comes with the urgency to save lives based in metro Detroit. But now, she's in Romania helping Ukrainians reach safety after facing horrors of war with Russia.
“Confusion, sadness. I spoke with fathers who lost a child, shot in front of them,” she said.
Since the war erupted, more than 12 million people have fled their homes in Ukraine. More than 5.7 million are staying in neighboring countries, according to the United Nations.
“Housing, volunteers, helping kids enroll in school and all that,” is what Ukrainian refugees need before they arrive to metro Detroit Mitrofan says.
Proper health care access is also a priority.
Several organizations, including the Jewish Family Services and the Chaldean Community Foundation, are rallying together alongside churches in and around Hamtramck to help refugees.
Olena Danylyuk with the Ukrainian-American Crisis Response Committee is helping by preparing supplies, clothing and other items for families who have left almost everything behind.
They’re also preparing to hold additional classes for some students overcoming a language barrier.
“They still want to be included in Ukrainian environments with Ukrainain language,” Danylyuk said. “We have Ukrainian doctors and local doctors willing to help on the local level.”
Other initiatives include job placement for adults and pursuing more state and federal funding.
“We are actively working with legislators to understand what process and funds are available,” Danylyuk said.
Along with prayers, Samaritas is accepting donations on its website to help with funding during this time on its website.