Ukraine: 'My heart breaks at scale of human misery' - MSP Karen Adam
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A POPULATION of the size of Scotland is potentially in the process of being displaced from Ukraine, according to the United Nations.
This is a human catastrophe and raises the question as to what can we do, are doing and what can be done now?
My heart breaks when I know that there are constituents of mine who talk of walking around in a trance, with loved ones going through hell whilst they feel helpless, and all because (as they say) "one man has lost the plot".
Who on earth would have thought that such a catastrophe would be happening in 2022, a world still reeling from a pandemic and with the shadow of world wars resurfacing, after decades of relative peace in Europe?
Not long ago, many of us felt hopeless as a result of the impact of nature, creating havoc and with many communities huddling in the darkness and the cold, being mentally stretched by the promise of a return to power that does not happen. But of course, none of this is on the same scale as the stories shared by our new Scots in touch with family members or friends.
Like the woman who has family hiding in a bomb shelter in Kyiv while her sister, husband and nephews are hiding in an underground garage.
Another woman who lives in the north-east, spoke of how her family are trapped in a garage because they didn’t have enough time to get to a proper shelter. She added “What’s making it worse is they can hear all the noises but don’t know what’s happening above.”
I spoke recently of empathy. Few of us can imagine what it’s like not knowing if you are going to see the sun rise, or your loved ones again, and not because of the ruthlessness of nature but due to the inhumanity of man against man – a distant moment in world war history for generations today. But as in the storms and clearly on a global as well as local scale, we feel and we surely care, even if we cannot imagine.
History is watching us. The Scottish Government has its hands tied in terms of immigration and asylum but has called for a relaxation of rules to address a humanitarian disaster and the refugee situation.
Westminster has been slow to act whilst people die, people walk with belongings in a bag, and largely women and children make desperate journeys to avoid the physical and psychological impact of war.
This tidal wave of people need help, now. If we can, now once more is the time to be the good Samaritans that donate (money or items), volunteer and to do what can be done.
At the time of writing, in and around the Banffshire and Buchan Coast constituency we have drop off sites near Fraserburgh at 31b High Street, Inverallochy, (Monday to Thursday from 12pm to 1pm and 6pm to 7pm), and in Banff (Co-op on Bridge Road, open every day, 7am to 10pm).
In Peterhead there is Duncan and Todd Opticians, (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm) and nearby there is a site at Shirley’s Space in Crimond and at Longside church hall (Wednesday 1pm to 3pm). This may not be an exhaustive list of great volunteering, so check with drop off sites and groups near you. Thank you, with all my heart.
- Karen Adam is MSP for Banffshire and Buchan Coast.