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Foreign Ministry Helps “kleine herzen” NGO Evacuate Orphaned Children from Ukraine

AUSTRIA, March 26 - 79 Ukrainian children arrive in Austria

With 4.3 million displaced minors, children are among those suffering the most from the Russian war of aggression on Ukraine. The situation is especially critical for the estimated 100,000 Ukrainian children housed in care homes and orphanages; without state support, they face a greater risk of falling victim to organised human trafficking.

The Austrian NGO kleine herzen (“little hearts”), which has worked on behalf of orphaned children in Ukraine, among others, for years, therefore asked the Austrian Consulate General in Krakow to provide urgently needed support for evacuating a group of orphans aged one to six, some with serious handicaps, from Ukraine (via Poland and the Czech Republic) to Austria.

It goes without saying that we are pulling out all the stops to help the most vulnerable of all groups and bring them to safety, thereby giving the youngest generation of Europeans a chance for a future far from the chaos of war,

 emphasised Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg.

A joint red-white-red feat of strength by the Foreign Ministry, the Consulate General in Krakow, and the crisis support team in Ukraine allowed the humanitarian transport organised by kleine herzen and supported by many other volunteers to cross the Ukrainian-Polish border at  Krakovets-Korczowa last Saturday. There, the children and their caretakers joined a convoy consisting of seven Red Cross ambulances (Lower Austrian branch of the Red Cross), two tour buses and two escort vehicles.

After a nearly 40-hour drive from the orphanage in Kropyvnytskyi, the 79 children – including 64 orphans – and 28 caretakers arrived in Austria late Saturday night. Several of the orphans required immediate intensive medical treatment. The rest of the convoy continued on to the South Burgenland town of Burgauberg-Neudauberg, which had declared its readiness to help kleine herzen provide accommodations and supplies for the orphans and their caretakers.

I would especially like to thank the red-white-red Austrian teams at the representation offices in Poland and Ukraine who worked closely with the kleine herzen organisation and the Red Cross, and set all the gears in motion to save human lives,

concluded Foreign Minister Schallenberg.