Ukrainians who took shelter in Romania are starting to pick up their lives by volunteering to welcome co-citizens fleeing from the war.
The Voice of America featured 26-year-old Elena Trofimchuk who is one of the volunteers in the North Railway Station of Bucharest. Trofimchuk, who hails from Odesa, has been staying in Romania for more than a month now. A photographer by profession, she has recently decided to assist other Ukrainians escaping from the Russian invasion by helping out in the station's ticketing, accommodations, and onward destinations.
"If you sit and do nothing, you can just become crazy because you're always searching for news. It's very hard. So here I can help people buy tickets and find accommodations. I even help Romanians in the kitchen," Trofimchuk explained.
Trofimchuk shared that she was moved by Romania's warm welcome of Ukrainian refugees. She revealed how shocked she was because every Romanian citizen wanted to help and is very friendly. She highlighted how happy she is that everyone wanted to help them.
Like Trofimchuk, Vitalii Ivanchuk and his girlfriend, Anastasiia Haiduk, wear an orange vest to indicate they are volunteers of the station specifically tasked to assist incoming refugees. Ivanchuk flew in with Haiduk from Sri Lanka just to volunteer. Haiduk, a Ukrainian, had to quit her job in an investment company to volunteer in the hope that she could be reunited with her family, who are still in their homeland.
The influx of refugees in Romania continues with the most recent coming from Odessa, Bucharest's station volunteers said. This has prompted Trofimchuk to skip attending the usual Saturday protest held by volunteers at the Russian embassy in Bucharest. Trofimchuk explained that she would be working in the station in anticipation of assisting people from her hometown.
"I will stay at the station as late as I can, because there might be people who need my help," Trofimchuk stressed.
As per the United Nations High Commission for Refugees data on May 1, there are 825,874 Ukrainians sheltered in Romania. The majority of the almost 5.5 million Ukrainian refugees have fled to Poland, which has 3,056,826 as of date. Other refugees flew to countries belonging to the Russian Federation at 681,156. While the rest went to Hungary at 530,157, the Republic of Moldova at 447,604, Slovakia at 379,447, and Belarus at 25,002.
Romania released on February 27 an emergency ordinance that provided humanitarian support to Ukrainians displaced by the Russian invasion. The ordinance bestowed asylum for Ukrainians fleeing from the war. It also supplied coverage for their basic necessities, as well as, protected vulnerable groups, which included children, the disabled, and the chronically ill.
The Romanian government also created a task force in response to the refugee crisis. The task force safeguarded Ukrainian citizens' rights such as medical services and the right to work in Romania. It also furnished the necessary support measures from the government. The Romanian government currently aided Ukrainian refugees through free train tickets bound for Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Hungary, Slovakia, and Switzerland.
In a similar show of support, United States First Lady Jill Biden will be arriving in Romania on Thursday from Washington to visit Ukrainian refugees. Biden will be meeting with Romanian government officials and humanitarian aid workers on the influx of Ukrainian refugees. She will also spend time with educators assisting Ukrainian children to continue with their schooling despite their circumstances.