In Palanca village, refugees from Ukraine are warmly welcomed
Palanca, one of the busiest crossing points of the Ukrainian border with the Republic of Moldova, has become since 24 February 2022 a first point of contact with refugees from the neighboring country. Local people and authorities have mobilized their efforts to provide refugees with blankets, food and hot drinks and, in some cases, a place to sleep overnight.
On 27 February, we visited Palanca, beneficiary community of the UNDP “Migration and local development” project, funded by the Government of Switzerland, where we interviewed some refugees.
Masha from Odessa: ”Of course, we want to go back home. We do hope to be gone for a short time.”
We took the decision to leave as soon as possible, as more and more alarming news kept coming. My husband and I practically did not sleep at all. The children slept fully dressed. We slept for short periods only. When feeling too tired, I slept a little bit, while my husband was on guard, then we switched. It was extremely alarming and anxious when the anti-air defense systems were activated. Even if during the first days it was more or less quiet in Odessa, nonetheless, we heard the explosions in the distance.
In order to be safe, we took the decision that the children and myself will leave abroad, while my husband will stay in Odessa, Ukraine. We formed a group of refugees; we came to Moldova by bus, and now we will go to Chisinau together, as a group. Our group consists of approx. 30 people. A pretty large group, I would say.
My father and many friends live in Israel. We managed to safely reach the Ukrainian border and to arrive in Moldova, and now we’ll keep going further, as we are expected in Israel. The children are not scared. We talked to them at home; we told them the journey could be difficult and long, and I asked them to obey, because everything is going to be alright, and we crossed the border pretty easily. The children were offered tea, candies, and meals. We did not expect to be welcomed like that; the children did not expect that either.
The flat we live in Odessa is the house where my great-grandmother, my grandmother, my mother, me, my daughter, Alisa, and my son, Gleb, were born. Of course, we want to go back home. We do hope to be gone for a short time.
Galina from Bilhorod-Dnistrovskyi: ”As soon as someone crosses the border, people would come and offer housing and help”
We live in the 21st century, and look at what it’s happening. We did not expect this to happen. Until the very last moment we could not believe it might happen. It is terrible. The anti-aircraft alarming systems were triggered, and we were forced to hide in basements, you see? And we have a small child.
Galina, together with her daughter and nephew, came to Moldova on Sunday, 27 February, via Palanca border crossing point.
We departed at 9:00 p.m., and here we are [12:00 noon, Moldova time]. We had to wait at the border. We moved five to ten meters in the queue at the customs throughout the night. As we queued, we had stops to get hot tea and foodstuff. I am impressed with such a welcoming atmosphere. As soon as someone crosses the border, people would come and offer housing and help. For instance, we did not want to take food, but they insisted and gave us packages with diverse foodstuff, asking us to eat.
These days, Galina’s family is in Moldova, at a Placement Centre for Refugees in Chisinau.
So far, we try to overcome this shock. We expect news from home.
As part of the UN Moldova family, UNDP supports communities and local authorities in their humanitarian assistance efforts: to provide accommodation and basic necessities to refugees from Ukraine.
Switzerland and UNDP provide $59,000 to support the communities that have made the most outstanding effort to host refugees. The funds are provided within the project “Migration and local development” through the hometown associations. One of the beneficiary localities is Palanca.