Island of Hope for Russians and Ukrainian, and Farmers in the Shadow of the War

Due to the war in Ukraine, human lives are at risk, people lack basic supplies and have been forced to leave their homes. IDPs have reached the Western part of Ukraine and refugees are arriving to Hungary in growing numbers. The Hungarian Reformed Church Aid has been providing emergency response from the first day. Daily update.

The Island of Hope – both for Russians and Ukrainians (08:07)

The Transylvanian Congregation in Budapest is offering accommodation and food to refugees at its guesthouse on the „Island of Hope”, and donations are also being made to help those on the other side of the border, reports the The article reveals that the shelter has housed refugees of Ukrainian and Russian nationality at the same time, without any tension .

"In a crisis situation, people are not looking for the root causes, but whether there is concrete help from the human and divine side. I see an extraordinary sense of solidarity every day between Russians, Ukrainians and Hungarians. No matter what nationality, somehow we all feel that we need the protection of God. This situation put mercifulness in the human heart forth. In this terrible horror, it is good news that there are still many people on earth who are capable of showing kindness to others," István Fazekas, the local pastor told.

Nine minibuses of donations reached Berehove (09:14)

Nine minibuses of the Hungarian Reformed Church arrived in Beregszász/Berehove, full of humanitarian aid, reported yesterday the Pulzus FM on its website. Among others, Hungarian pastors, the General Secretary, András Gér and Márton Juhász, CEO of the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid, were present at the handover of the donations, which came from several places. "We came from many places: we met at the border and brought the donations. Mainly beds, mattresses, vitamins, durable food, hygiene equipment. We bring what we are asked for," specified Márton Juhász to the Transcarpathian Hungarian radio.

Small farmers in the shadow of war (11:34)

Food shortages are expected in Ukraine and other countries if the agricultural work and land management is not completed, as supposed in the season of spring, told Sándor Zán Fábián, Bishop of the Reformed Church in Transcatpathia to the portal. According to the church leader, the general mobilization and the military registration also scares people. The Bishop explained: when you see in the Ukrainian official press that there are a lot of volunteers who don’t get supply, why do they want to draft men living in the hinterland, who work in agriculture? He added that the fields that are now being tramped by tanks will not be tilled. This situation could lead to food shortages not only in Ukraine but also in many other countries that import wheat and cereals from Ukraine.

A similar problem was pointed out by András Kis, a vegetable producer in the Ukrainian village of Salánk, who, when asked by, said that the price of seeds, black film and drip irrigation systems had tripled. They have two foil houses, but the price of fuel and diesel has doubled, and for years they have been using diesel trucks to transport their vegetables to the wholesale market in Nagyszőlős. They buy plastic tents in Hungary every five years, and were due to buy new ones this year. At the end of March or beginning of April, they start growing the primary crops, which will bear fruit at the end of May or beginning of June. By the end of June or early July, the outdoor vegetables - cucumbers and tomatoes - are also starting to come into production. “But this year, when we looked around the wholesale market, they saw few buyers. They don't come as they do in other years," he said.

Earlier, Reuters recalled that Ukraine is one of the world's largest grain producing and exporting countries, but several experts pointed out that the area under cultivation in 2022 could drop significantly due to the Russian invasion. The main agriculture export products are Corn and Wheat. In 2021 Ukraine was the second largest supplier of grains for the European Union (EU) and a large food supplier for low and middle-income countries in Asia and Africa.

The Hungarian Reformed Church Aid has already helped 160 thousand people in need (14:35)

The Hungarian Reformed Church Aid has already delivered almost 290 tons of donations to people in need due to the war in Ukraine. Of this amount, almost 160 tons were delivered to Transcarpathia, and partly to central Ukraine. About three thousand seven hundred volunteers have already registered with HRCA. 670 interpreters, 109 medical doctors, 21113 other volunteers and 70 staff members of the Hungarian Reformed Church Aid have been involved in the work of the past weeks. Almost 160,000 people in need were assisted in ten locations.

HRCA’s daily operation in numbers

  • Transport requested: 8 persons
  • Accommodation requested: 12 persons
  • Mental health assistance: 25 persons
  • Medical care: 0 persons
  • Meals, drinks: 197 persons
  • Hygiene and childcare products: 100 persons
  • Blankets: 0 persons
  • Number of persons on duty: 61 persons
    • of which volunteers: 36
    • of which health worker: 0
    • of which interpreter: 19

Edited and translated by Anna Derencsényi, international officer of the Diaconia of RCH.