21 December 2023

Major Brad Watson with the General and members of the International Emergency Services team
Major Brad Watson (second from right) with General Lyndon Buckingham and members of the International Emergency Services team

Major Brad Watson from The Salvation Army Australia Territory has been deployed in Ukraine for the last two months to assist the Eastern Europe Territory and the work supporting people affected by the war with Russia.

His role involved helping with the coordination of humanitarian and development aid and providing on-the-ground support.

‘Being in Ukraine with an active war was a confronting scene, and to witness children and families having to live in this constant danger was even more alarming. These families found themselves without work, away from home, in dire circumstances and often in freezing weather,’ Major Watson shared.

18 million people in need of aid

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) reports that more than 1.4 million homes* have been damaged, more than five million people are internally displaced, and more than 18 million people* (almost half the entire population) are in need of some kind of aid.

The Salvation Army has been providing assistance since the day the war commenced, handing out things like hygiene items, bedding, food and water, as well as making intangible offerings such as organising children’s activities and offering pastoral care.

Bases have been set up in several locations across the country, including front-line areas such as Kharkiv and Pisochyn, and also in places where many displaced families have fled, like the Ukrainian capital of Kyiv and as far west as Lviv.

Far-reaching support

‘The support that we are providing is far-reaching, and we can see it is making a difference to the people of Ukraine,’ noted Major Watson. ‘It is a privilege and an honour to see our Salvation Army colleagues in action and to work them.’

Major Watson continued by saying, ‘Every day, we see some sort of impact from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, and even though we may be hundreds of kilometres from the front line, we stand and support the people affected. Please continue to keep your thoughts and prayers with the people of Ukraine and those affected in Russia.’

IHQ Communications

*Figures correct 11 December 2023

Tags: Europe, Ukraine-Russia conflict 2022, News