Catalonia to send 200 pallets with humanitarian aid to Ukrainian border

Government will give up to €600,000 to UN agencies to help refugees

Pallets at Banc dels Aliments' warehouse ready to go to Ukraine on March 11, 2022 (by Gerard Escaich Folch)
Pallets at Banc dels Aliments' warehouse ready to go to Ukraine on March 11, 2022 (by Gerard Escaich Folch) / Gerard Escaich Folch

Gerard Escaich Folch | Barcelona

March 11, 2022 01:23 PM

Some of the trucks, boxes, and pallets that leave Catalonia to go to Ukraine or a neighboring country met at Barcelona’s Zona Franca Port area. On Friday, two trucks with 200 pallets left to arrive on Monday at the Polish border with the eastern European nation.

These trucks leave the Banc dels Aliments organization warehouse, where entities across Catalonia send the material they have received at several collection points. At the moment, there are 200 pallets but the storage facility can fit up to 1,500.

Indoors, the building is run by Banc dels Aliments, but outdoors it is up to the Catalan government, Barcelona’s Port authority, the Ukrainian consulate, and the NGO Open Arms team to send the material to the border.

All these items arrive at a hub that the Catalan government, Barcelona’s Port authority, and the Ukrainian consulate have organized. The logistical effort has only been possible with the help of Banc dels Aliments and NGO Open Arms volunteers.

"We have created this logistical hub to answer the spontaneous response from a lot of people through entities and city councils" Damià Calvet, Barcelona Port president, said to the media outlets at the warehouse.

"This hub has been organized in less than 48 hours, this is because we have a really strong team willing to help," Banc dels Aliments director, Lluís Fatjó-Vilas said.

"We are in the middle of a really strong crisis, we are still helping a lot of people because of the [health] emergency faced in Catalonia and we are thinking how to give a fast response to families that are suffering," he added. 

At the storage facility, administrations send food, medicines, clothes, toys, and all the material Ukrainians will need. All this is visually organized in rows with numbers categorizing the content of the boxes.

This way, they can quickly see what they have enough of or what material they are lacking, before making a call to entities and Catalan residents to help.

"A lot of people are forced to abandon their homes, to travel around the country, and all of them need humanitarian aid," Ukrainian general consul in Barcelona, Artem Vorobyov, said to the media. "I want to thank all NGOs, the Catalan residents, and the executive for the help," he added.

Catalonia contributes to the UN

The Catalan government has taken the opportunity to announce that they will be contributing up to €600,000 to two United Nations agencies: the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA).

Each of these entities will receive €290,000 from the executive via the Catalan Development cooperation agency as "the best way to help Ukraine is with economic contributions," Foreign minister Victòria Alsina announced.

The UNHCR and the OCHA "can help detect and identify the main needs, get humanitarian material to the local residents, and make sure all the help reaches those who need it the most," the minister added.

In the near future, this financial assistance will also be assigned to Catalan NGOs helping Ukrainians, either arriving in the territory or still at the border with Poland.

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