Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees are set to land in Winnipeg, Man., on Monday, fleeing the violence in war-torn Ukraine.
“We are very looking forward to tomorrow,” said Nick Krawetz, a volunteer with the Manitoba provincial council of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.
“It’s going to be a special and emotional day not only for us but for the new arrivals as well.”
Krawetz says the newcomers will be greeted at the airport welcome desk and provided with guides on how to get certain documentation like health cards, social insurance numbers, open bank accounts, as well as welcome packages containing toys and gifts for the children. He says the congress expects about a third of the people on the plane to be children.
“With these first 350 people, a lot of them will be starting over,” he said.
“They’ve been under shelling. Some of them have witnessed horrendous things that no one should have to see, so some people will need special care or mental health supports.”
He expects there to be a range of emotions when they walk into the Winnipeg International Airport.
“It’ll be I think a whole range of emotions, but also a gratifying sense, a sense of relief as well,” Krawetz added. “They’re safe and they’re alive and overall that’s the main thing.”
Romanna Klymkiw has been leading fundraising and donation drive efforts for Ukrainian refugees in the Interlake, and has helped support seven families with clothing, non-perishable food items, children’s items, household items, and other essentials.
“They were so grateful and so surprised that Canadians were so friendly and so willing to help them out in their time of need,” Klymkiw told Global News.
She says the work needs to continue even after families land in Canada, and she hopes the community receiving refugees will show its support.
“I would really hope that communities would reach out to individuals going into the community,” she said.
“Whether that’s saying hello, asking how they are, helping them make their transition into their new life just as easy and as pleasant as possible.”