(Vatican Radio) The Pontifical Council Cor Unum, the papal charitable office, will be organizing the distribution of funds raised in response to Pope Francis’ appeal for aid to the people of Ukraine.
Listen to this report by Tracey McClure:
The situation in the former Soviet state remains dramatic though the ongoing conflict between government forces and pro-Russia separatists has fallen off the collective radar.
Calling it a “worn out land,” on Sunday, Pope Francis appealed for an end to the conflict amid reports of fresh fighting. More than 9,000 people have been killed since clashes erupted in April 2014. 1.7 million people have been displaced - particularly in Crimea, annexed by Russia - and the eastern Donbass region.
Implementation of a deal agreed in Minsk last year and a lull in the violence had raised hopes that the conflict could be resolved soon.
Half a million people urgently need food and health authorities say more than double that number require urgent medical attention. Essential medicines, anesthesia and insulin are lacking and many operations are performed without anesthesia.
Drinking water is scarce for 1.3 million people and gas and electricity are only intermittently available.
Special collection for Ukraine 24 April
Pope Francis announced that a special collection for Ukraine will be taken up in churches across Europe on Sunday 24 April.
“This gesture of charity, beyond alleviating material suffering, expresses my personal closeness and the solidarity of the entire Church” he said. He expressed his profound hope that it may be of help to promote peace and the respect for rights.
About 10% of Ukraine’s mostly Orthodox population, Catholics in Ukraine have mobilized to assist their countrymen in need, regardless of background or creed. Proceeds from the Europe-wide collection will be distributed by the leaders of Ukraine’s various religious communities.
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