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Prince Charles arrives in Romania to meet Ukraine refugees Prince Charles arrives in Romania to meet Ukraine refugees
(2 days later)
Prince Charles visited a centre distributing food and clothes to refugeesPrince Charles visited a centre distributing food and clothes to refugees
The Prince of Wales has arrived in Romania to show his support for Ukrainian refugees and to see first-hand the assistance being provided.The Prince of Wales has arrived in Romania to show his support for Ukrainian refugees and to see first-hand the assistance being provided.
It's the first visit from a senior royal to the region since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.It's the first visit from a senior royal to the region since the start of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The latest figures show almost a million Ukrainians have already crossed the border into Romania.The latest figures show almost a million Ukrainians have already crossed the border into Romania.
Prince Charles visited a centre near Bucharest, which supports the rising number of refugees. Prince Charles visited a centre near Bucharest, which supports a rising number of refugees.
He met Ukrainian families who had come to get supplies of food and clothes and aid workers explained the current pressures. Aid workers explained the scale of the pressures and the prince met Ukrainian families who had come to get supplies of food and clothes.
A million Ukrainians have come to Romania since the outbreak of war
More than six million people have left Ukraine in the three months of the war. In the past week alone, a further 40,000 people are estimated to have crossed into Romania.More than six million people have left Ukraine in the three months of the war. In the past week alone, a further 40,000 people are estimated to have crossed into Romania.
Ukrainians have escaped war but face an uncertain future
Prince Charles has been strongly outspoken about the war, attacking the "brutal aggression" inflicted on Ukraine. Having travelled to Bucharest, about 150 miles from the Ukraine border - this is also the closest a senior British royal has come to the conflict.Prince Charles has been strongly outspoken about the war, attacking the "brutal aggression" inflicted on Ukraine. Having travelled to Bucharest, about 150 miles from the Ukraine border - this is also the closest a senior British royal has come to the conflict.
The prince also has a long-standing connection with Romania, having set up a charitable foundation in the country and restored a traditional farmhouse.The prince also has a long-standing connection with Romania, having set up a charitable foundation in the country and restored a traditional farmhouse.
Charles visits Ukrainian community in LondonCharles visits Ukrainian community in London
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Where have Ukrainian refugees fled?Where have Ukrainian refugees fled?
Ukraine risks being 'pulverised', royals toldUkraine risks being 'pulverised', royals told
It comes as figures from the UNHCR show 966,000 Ukrainians have entered Romania since the start of the war, with only Poland taking in more refugees. The visit comes as figures from the UNHCR show 966,000 Ukrainians have entered Romania since the start of the war, with only Poland taking in more refugees.
"I've not seen anything so big and so fast. By any measure it's a major movement of people," says Mike Weickert, global rapid response director for World Vision, a charity supporting Ukrainian refugees in Romania."I've not seen anything so big and so fast. By any measure it's a major movement of people," says Mike Weickert, global rapid response director for World Vision, a charity supporting Ukrainian refugees in Romania.
Lisa, a refugee from Ukraine, is helping as an interpreter for new arrivalsLisa, a refugee from Ukraine, is helping as an interpreter for new arrivals
Mr Weickert, whose aid agency is working in the Romexpo centre, visited by Prince Charles and Margareta, head of Romania's royal family, added: "It's going to be increasingly difficult for refugees and for the hosting countries." "It's going to be increasingly difficult for refugees and for the hosting countries," said Mr Weickert, whose aid agency is working in the Romexpo centre, visited by Prince Charles and Margareta, head of Romania's royal family.
The conference centre site is being used to help more than 1,000 people a day, with Romanian authorities and international agencies providing food, clothing and advice services. The conference centre site is helping more than 1,000 people a day, with Romanian authorities and international agencies providing food, clothing and advice services.
Among those helping with the international effort at the centre is Stephen Noble of the Salvation Army.
He spent the pandemic helping with a food bank in Scarborough, and there are some similarities to the services being offered here, with food parcels available and racks of second-hand clothing.
Help is available for refugees arriving in Bucharest's train stationHelp is available for refugees arriving in Bucharest's train station
Among those helping with the international effort at the centre is Stephen Noble of the Salvation Army. He spent the pandemic helping with a food bank in Scarborough, and there are similarities to the people arriving here to collect food and clothing.
There are soft toys for children and pet food for the dogs and cats that some families brought with them.There are soft toys for children and pet food for the dogs and cats that some families brought with them.
Mr Noble says he he has been struck by the dignity of those arriving - and says that for those in the UK who have made donations it is "absolutely worthwhile". Mr Noble has been struck by the dignity of those arriving, who had to leave everything behind - and says that for those in the UK who have made donations it is "absolutely worthwhile".
He says one of the most practical ways of supporting refugees has been to give them vouchers to use in local supermarkets, which allows them to buy for their individual needs.
One of the translators is herself a refugee. Lisa has gone from being a sales manager in Odessa to helping disorientated new arrivals.One of the translators is herself a refugee. Lisa has gone from being a sales manager in Odessa to helping disorientated new arrivals.
Stephen Noble is part of the international effort visited by Prince CharlesStephen Noble is part of the international effort visited by Prince Charles
"At first it's a shock. You don't believe it. Then you realise you have to stay." So many people have left Ukraine that in some villages there is only one person left, she says."At first it's a shock. You don't believe it. Then you realise you have to stay." So many people have left Ukraine that in some villages there is only one person left, she says.
For those refugees continuing to stream across the border, by car, bus or train, there is still a generous reception here. At Bucharest's Gara de Nord train station there are volunteers and support workers waiting to help families escaping the war. For those refugees continuing to stream across the border into Romania, by car, bus or train, there is still a generous reception.
Romania has given Ukrainian refugees free travel on its railways, with women and children the great majority of new arrivals. There are rows of tents in the station concourse, which can provide immediate shelter and first aid. At Bucharest's Gara de Nord train station there are volunteers and support workers waiting to help families escaping the war.
Romania has given Ukrainian refugees free travel on its railways, with women and children the great majority of new arrivals. On the station concourse there are tents ready to provide immediate shelter and first aid.
The prince met families using the support servicesThe prince met families using the support services
Many will move on to other countries, some will return to Ukraine, and those that stay in Romania are mostly in the bigger cities, with spaces having to be found in hostels, private houses, public buildings or hotel rooms. This is a refugee crisis in a highly-mobile, urban setting.
As well as emergency needs, such as food and shelter, aid workers say they will need to provide longer-term support such as education for children out of school and recognising the mental health problems from such a traumatic uprooting. Many are moving on to other countries, some will try to return to Ukraine, and those that stay in Romania are mostly in the bigger cities, with spaces having to be found in hostels, private houses, public buildings or hotel rooms.
As well as emergency needs, such as food and shelter, aid workers say they will need to provide longer-term support for refugees.
Children will need schools, adults will need jobs to have an income, older people with health problems will need access to medical support and there will be mental health problems from such a traumatic uprooting.
The longer refugees are out of their homes the more they risk "running out money, running out of options", says Mr Weickert.The longer refugees are out of their homes the more they risk "running out money, running out of options", says Mr Weickert.