The war in Ukraine also has the face of a 11-year-old boy, who arrived alone on the Slovak border where he was welcomed and cared for by the Order of Malta’s volunteers. From his home in Zaporizhzhia, in the south-east of the country, the child had travelled alone over 700 miles with only a red backpack, a passport and a telephone number written on the back of his hand. Fatherless, the boy’s mother remained in Ukraine to take care of her invalid mother. Thanks to the number on his hand, the Order of Malta volunteers were able to track down his older brother in Bratislava. The two brothers were thus reunited.
“I am very grateful that my son’s life has been saved,” the woman said. “In Slovakia there are people with big hearts,” she added, launching an appeal to save Ukrainian children from the war.
The number of refugees fleeing from Ukraine since the outbreak of war on 24 February has exceeded the milestone of two million, half of which are minors. Some 128,000 refugees have arrived in Slovakia, according to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees.
“Our support service is active 24 hours a day. We mainly provide transportation for refugees, find them accommodation and distribute drinks and hot meals at the access points from Ukraine where we have a border post,” explains Dominic Brichta secretary of the Order of Malta’s embassy in Slovakia currently involved in the Order’s rescue operations in this country.