Ivan Puhachov says he feels helpless as he watches videos of his hometown of Kharkiv, Ukraine.
He says his heart hurts to see the destruction and people scrambling for safety — people like his parents, grandmother and siblings.
“To be in a situation when you realize that your home is no longer home at all,” he said. “It’s not maybe even a building. It’s a disaster.”
Puhachov, who has been living in Montreal since 2019, has submitted immigration applications, on behalf of his family, to come to Quebec.
They will begin their travel to Poland on Friday to give their biometrics, a step in the application process.
On Thursday afternoon, Quebec said in a press release that they will speed up the process of temporary immigration applications from Ukrainians.
They also said that they will implement a special humanitarian program to support the Ukrainian community in Quebec in sponsoring their families.
Roman Vydro has also fled his hometown of Kharkiv to Chernivtsi, what he calls a safer city, near the Romanian border. He told us he is working with friends to help Ukrainians on the ground.
Though he says many have decided to flee to nearby Poland, he believes Canada is also a good option.
“I think it’s quite natural that Canada will also see the influx of displaced people and I’m really counting on support on your side to make sure that you can take care of the most vulnerable people,” he said.
The Quebec branch of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress is getting ready to welcome those people, and they said they need all the help they can get from the community.
“There’s going to be a huge humanitarian need that we are signalling and we need the help of all Montrealers,” said Michael Shwec, president of the Quebec chapter of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
“Anybody who can donate toys, food, especially women’s clothes and children’s clothing.”
Shwec said people can bring their donations to the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary Ukrainian Catholic parish located at 6175 10th Ave., in Montreal.
Shwec said as people begin to arrive in Quebec over the next few weeks, they will need a place to stay.
They are currently creating a list of names of volunteers who would be willing to open their homes and sponsor families.
Meanwhile, Quebec’s immigration minister is set to announce new measures that will help Ukrainian refugees, at a press conference on Friday.