Where is the Cavalry?
Well done to you and the army of volunteers. Moldova is uniquely placed to cover the many needs of these highly deserving and vulnerable refugees and I am aware of families helping. Here in Romania, sadly, the story is not as different as you might think. Even here, the response is hugely resting on the shoulders of individual families and kind hearted groups like yours and those you describe. Bizarrely Moldovans here (in Romania) are run ragged in assistance give their ability to translate between the languages. We all know that the wheels of governments move slowly but surely there can be exceptions? I am seeing the strains on some families already and this will become a secondary crisis if the government aid does not kick in soon. Keep up the good work and you are correct to highlight the situation.
It's interesting you mention the resources that have been sent to Poland. I just spent almost a week at the Polish border (and have been involved in Warsaw for weeks now) and yet I have the same feeling you do. Yes, there are international organizations here. I see the logos of organizations such as PAH, the Polish Red Cross, Caritas, etc, but on the ground I still feel a complete lack of leadership and coordination.
From what I have seen, beyond the initial efforts of large international organizations directly on the border, most in-land assistance is as often as not just a self-organized citizen effort like Smokehouse run with modest involvement of the local government (typically the city or regional government). Dedicated, passionate (yet untrained) volunteers are largely responsible for helping to find housing, transportation, food, and communication assistance. We keep records, but they are our own and we have no instructions or requests to send them anywhere. Therefore, if we find housing or transportation for a family, we know where they went but no one else does. This echoes your concern of having no idea of where the refugees are staying.
A month in and we're still left doing the best we can and hoping the next person we send them to has more information. I've seen heroic efforts by individuals, churches, companies, and small civil organizations, but it's getting frustrating at this point. I'm not saying the situation here in Poland is worse than in Moldova, I'm simply saying that I share similar concerns. Where is the cavalry indeed.
Great publicity from the PBS Evening News March 24th about how Moldovans are helping Ukrainian refugees. And David is one of the volunteers featured in the piece! We can hope officials in the US who can provide assistance will see it.
The front page of the (electronic, anyway) NY Times features Moldova. It highlights to some extent what you have written here. Yes, we need to kick in the promises of these large NGOs. They should have the organization and supplies needed. I will write to my senators and reps.
David, thanks for the information! Our church is sending a small team to help in the south of Moldova where some of the refugees have landed. It is very unorganized there like many of the other places. The local government has reached out to our partners there and passed along the refugees. They are doing the best they can with the limited resources. Our camp in Cahul/Badicul has more space if people can get transportation there. We also have financial resources to help and willing to send more teams.
This is so disconcerting! Where the hell is that help? I know a lot of it will go into office jobs and salaries, as always. But I wonder how many Moldova office people will get rich after this influx of money? The trouble is, volunteers will run out of steam, and entrepreneurs will run out of resources. How can we make this question public? A TV channel?
This makes me so frustrated. I'll get busy today and send this out to as many politician's I can. Stay strong!