Siirry suoraan sisältöön

Helsinki to send humanitarian aid to Ukraine through Red Cross and UNICEF

Mayor of Helsinki Juhana Vartiainen has decided to divide the EUR 350,000 appropriated by the Helsinki City Council on 28 February 2022 for aid to Ukraine between two established charities. Half of the amount, EUR 175,000 will be allocated to the Finnish Red Cross, while the other EUR 175,000 will be extended to the Finnish branch of UNICEF. The money will be directed in full to humanitarian aid in Ukraine and to assist the country’s residents.

On 25 February 2022, the Embassy of Ukraine approached several cities in Finland with a request for assistance, to mitigate the damage and losses to Ukraine and its people caused by military actions. Finland’s largest cities responded by committing over EUR 1.5 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine. This sum includes the City of Helsinki’s donation.

In line with the decision of the City Council, Helsinki’s contribution is primarily intended to be delivered as financial assistance, with the donation of supplies reserved as a secondary option. The process of targeting the aid was handled in cooperation with the Finnish government, relief organisations and other trusted partners.

“The City of Helsinki has consulted with the Foreign Ministry’s Unit for humanitarian assistance and policy, and the overall view was that it is most appropriate to send monetary aid. In terms of impact, the money will be directed to the established charity groups of the Red Cross and UNICEF, which are already active in Ukraine and have extensive experience both in Ukraine and in crisis situations,” Helsinki Mayor Juhana Vartiainen commented.  

Reception of people fleeing Ukraine has begun in Helsinki

Helsinki is making the necessary preparations to receive Ukrainians who are fleeing the war and distress. The first arrivals have already been referred to the necessary services. 

The City of Helsinki coordinates the refugee situation together with the Border Guard, the Helsinki Police and the Finnish Immigration Service, among others. The neighbouring City of Vantaa is already a part of this cooperation, and the City of Espoo and representatives of the Interior Ministry are expected to join in the effort by the end of the week.

The situation at the border crossings of Helsinki’s ports is peaceful at the moment. People from Ukraine have arrived in the country, and some of these have sought asylum.

Ukrainians can enter Finland as asylum seekers, but they may also arrive under other grounds of entry, for example, to join relatives. The City of Helsinki distributes a bulletin to all new arrivals that contains the contact information of key social and health services and instructions on applying for asylum.

Helsinki’s Emergency social services and crisis services and Immigration unit are both standing at the ready to assist people who are not seeking asylum, but may still need accommodation, healthcare or other kinds of crisis support. The Finnish Immigration Service is responsible for processing asylum applications.

The operations of reception centres in Helsinki were transferred from the city to the Finnish Immigration Service last autumn, but the city is planning to expand its emergency accommodation capacity, set up processing centres and provide temporary lodging, should the Immigration Service so request.

“We are already mapping out available accommodation options, and I am happy to say that many private entities have offered their premises for the city and possible asylum seekers’ use,” said Mayor Vartiainen.