Twenty-eight Ukrainians received a warm welcome as they arrived in Toronto after Samaritan’s Purse flew them out of Poland on the international disaster relief organization’s DC-8 aircraft.
“We did not know what to do or where we could go,” said Natalia, who is eight months pregnant and arrived with her husband and their 11-year-old son.
“Now, my baby will be born in a safe country. Every person on this plane has been praying for a fresh start, a new life. And then Samaritan’s Purse told us they would help. It is God showing us His love. This is His mercy flight.”
The organization’s DC-8 aircraft first airlifted more than 18 metric tons of emergency relief supplies to Poland for trucking into Ukraine. The return flight provided transport for Ukrainians, utilizing both legs of the relief mission to aid people in need.
The Ukrainians arrived as part of the Canada-Ukraine Authorization for Emergency Travel and are staying with relatives or friends in Winnipeg, Regina, Edmonton, Vegreville AB, and the Greater Toronto Area.
Samaritan’s Purse has been responding in Ukraine and surrounding countries since conflict broke out on Feb. 24. To date, the organization has airlifted more than 300 tons of relief supplies—including an emergency field hospital—on 13 airlift missions to aid people devastated by the conflict.
Currently, almost 150 Samaritan’s Purse disaster response specialists are in the region (including more than 30 Canadians) meeting critical needs through medical care and the distribution of food and other relief items—assisting over 330,000 people impacted by conflict thus far.