Samaritan’s Purse has deployed a team of disaster response specialists to Poland, Romania and Moldova to assess the various needs of refugees fleeing the conflict in Ukraine.
As of March 3, more than 1 million people had fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began on Feb. 24, the U.N. Refugee Agency said.
“There is so much fear and uncertainty,” Franklin Graham posted to Facebook. “Many Ukrainians are fleeing their homes toward the west. These families need our prayers.”
For those still in Ukraine, Samaritan’s Purse is preparing to set up an Emergency Field Hospital within the country. Phase 1 of the Tier 2 Emergency Field Hospital deployment began today (March 4).
A DC-8 cargo plane from Greensboro, North Carolina, is airlifting hospital equipment, generators, flooring, as well as setup personnel, doctors and nurses. Once the plane lands in Poland, the Field Hospital will then be transported over land to Ukraine, where it will provide specialized trauma care to people impacted by the conflict.
Samaritan’s Purse is also preparing to distribute 20 tons of food inside Ukraine.
Over the years, Samaritan’s Purse has forged partnerships with more than 3,200 Ukrainian churches through the ministry of Operation Christmas Child. Approximately 660,000 gift-filled shoeboxes were delivered to Ukraine just a few weeks ago, and church partners were in the process of distributing the boxes to children when the conflict began. Samaritan’s Purse says it remains in contact with churches within the country.
In addition to humanitarian assistance, Franklin called for Christians to pray for “an end to this deadly conflict.”
“I hope that tens of thousands of churches and millions of families around the world will stand together in prayer, asking Almighty God to work in the hearts of leaders,” he said in urging a special prayer day on Sunday (Feb. 27). “… Let’s lift up in prayer those who are enduring these dark days filled with uncertainty, fear, hardship, loss and suffering. May they know the comfort, presence, peace and protection of God who is a ‘refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble’ (Psalm 46:1).”
According to Pew Research, Ukraine is one the most Christian nations in Europe. Of its more than 43 million citizens, 78% of the population identifies with the Ukrainian Orthodox Church, 10% are Roman Catholic, and 2% are evangelical.
In a plea to Ukrainian church leaders, Valery Antonyuk, president of the Ukrainian Baptist Union, posted a video imploring pastors to encourage their congregations to unite in prayer.
“This is our weapon in times of war,” he said. “… Our country needs the church to be light and salt. The Lord is our Shepherd—we will not be in need. He will lead us even in such times.”
Above: A little girl clutches a doll at the Uzhhorod-Vysne Nemecke checkpoint on the Ukraine-Slovakia border, Zakarpattia Region, western Ukraine.
Story updated March 4, 8:50 a.m.