Around 400,000 people, mainly women, children and the elderly, are reported to have fled their homes right across Ukraine and headed for the borders of neighbouring countries in Poland, Romania and Moldova to seek sanctuary. The exodus was sparked after Russia invaded the country last week following an address to the nation by Russian President Vladimir Putin. .
Collection points are being set up across Ireland north and south to gatrher donations to be sent to eastern Europe or to help prepare for refugees coming here.
Among the newly announced collection points in Derry is Oakgrove Integrated Primary School and Nursery.
A spokesperson said: “We are currently supporting displaced refugees as a collection point for donations.
“1) Items of clothing, shoes, toiletries and toys for refugee families arriving in NI will be given to the Acacia Path charity who work directly with refugee families to provide starter packs.
“2) Collection for refugees displaced from Ukraine, these items will be sent to Poland as part of local charity collection drives.
“We would ask that if anyone can afford to donate that the following items are very much needed: Blankets, bedclothes, towels, sleeping bags ( clean); Dressings, bandages-factory packed; Warm socks, underwear -male, female, child ( new); Toiletries ie soap, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrushes, antiseptic hand gels/sprays etc; Toilet roll and paper towels, nappies, sanitary towels, wet wipes; Paper plates, cups, single-use cutlery etc; Ready to eat canned food ( not requiring heating or further cooking); dry food ie fruits, nuts, crackers, cornflakes, rice crackers ; Coffee, tea, salt, sugar; Bottled water, juices, and other beverages.”
The same list of item requests has also been shared by various others organising collection points.
Galaxy Allstars, Pennyburn (4pm-9pm) and Galaxy Allstars Studios Spencer Roard (6.30-9pm) have been added official drop off points in the city, with collection til Thursday this week initially.
EO’C estate Agents on 43 Carlisle Road in the city centre are also taking in donations from now to 5pm Thursday.
Glendermott and New Buildings Church of Ireland will also be open for collections today, Monday evening 6-9pm and tomorrow, Tuesday afternoon, 1.30 -4pm.
In a post on Facebook, the Church reps said: “Another Chance will also accept donations 10am -4pm Monday to Wednesday. The Canon Kelly hall will also accept donations Monday to Wednesday 10am - 12 noon. Please give generously.”
The Ulster Unionist Party headquarters in Derry at 10 Bonds Street is also taking in donations and has appealed for anyone else who can host such facilities locally to get in touch.
A spokesperson said: “We have all seen the news reports of what the Ukrainian people are facing against a Russian invasion. There is no doubt this will cause displacement across the Ukraine, creating a refugee crisis that so often happens when war tears people apart.
“We in the Ulster Unionist Party - Londonderry will be holding a collection point at our office at 10 Bonds Street to gather aid for the brave people of the Ukraine from Monday 28th February - Thursday 3rd March.”
CFC Interiors in Campsie meanwhile are also supporting an emergency collection of the items needed for the war refugees.
In a [post on Facebook, it states: “All items will be sent to refugee centres on the eastern border of Poland, where many Ukrainians, often with small children, are fleeing.
£We will be leaving collection boxes at the front door of our Cookstown and Campsie stores this week (by Wednesday), if you are in a position to donate any of the items, any help would be greatly appreciated. Collected items will be transferred to Poland as soon as possible. We greatly appreciate your support.”
The Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskyy said that talks are due to be held between Ukrainian and Russian officials today near the Ukraine border with Belarus.