A humanitarian hub has been set up at London Luton Airport to provide practical support for Ukrainian refugees.
Organised by Bedfordshire’s Local Resilience Forum which brings together partners such as local authorities, NHS Clinical Commissioning Groups, emergency services, the charity and voluntary sector and the airport, the hub operates by providing a warm welcome to Ukrainian refugees suffering the trauma of being uprooted from their homeland.
At the hub arrivals are greeted by volunteers from the Bedfordshire and Luton Emergency Volunteers Executive Committee, British Red Cross and the Airport Chaplaincy.
As well as a friendly face, refreshments are provided, while advisers are able to give guidance for onward travel within the UK. Paramedics from the Hearts First Ambulance Service are also on hand to provide mental and physical health support information.
A whole array of advice, information and useful contact numbers from local and national agencies is available for the arrivals, many of whom are bewildered and confused by recent events and facing a very uncertain future.
Whole families are arriving and children in particular are comforted, not just to see the familiar colours of the Ukrainian flag in the reception area, but to see some heart-felt artwork designed by Luton’s Surrey Street Primary, Cardinal Newman Catholic and Queen Elizabeth schools.
Alberto Martin, CEO at London Luton Airport said: “As an international airport we help to connect cultures, places and people, so it has been heart breaking to witness events unfold in Ukraine. We are proud of the support we provide to our communities and are glad we can play a small part in ensuring a warm welcome to Ukrainian families as they arrive in the UK”.
Councillor Aslam Khan, Deputy Leader, Luton Council, said: “Once again Luton and the wider region has stepped up to the plate at a moment of great crisis and deep tragedy. In a short space of time many different organisations have come together and been working around the clock to provide a warm welcome and practical support to those whose lives have been violently disrupted by the Russian invasion of their country. As it did when establishing a testing site during the Covid pandemic, London Luton Airport has underlined its role as our community airport by hosting this vital point of refuge.”
Holland America Line Ship Will Become Temporary Home for Ukrainian Refugees in the Netherlands
Holland America Line’s Volendam will be used to accommodate Ukrainian refugees as part of an agreement announced by Netherlands and City of Rotterdam government officials. The ship will dock in Rotterdam for three months to provide a temporary home for approximately 1,500 Ukrainians, part of a larger commitment from the Netherlands to accommodate 50,000 people who fled the war in their homeland.
Under the agreement to charter Volendam, Holland America Line will provide three hot meals per day, private stateroom accommodations, housekeeping services, use of public spaces, fitness facilities, internet access, and other necessities. Volendam will be staffed with approximately 650 crew members.