The Monaco branch of the Red Cross has raised more than 1.7 million euros in donations.

Five months ago already. On 24 February, Russia went to war against Ukraine, giving rise to a massive exodus of the Ukrainian population, but also to an exceptional outpouring of solidarity.

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Yann Bertrand – © Monaco Red Cross

The Monaco Red Cross was no exception to the rule, immediately launching an appeal for donations. The charity shared with us an initial assessment of its actions, financed thanks to the generosity of the population.

“The Red Cross provided a three-stage response, which allowed us to help people affected by the conflict very quickly”, explains Yann Bertrand, Administrative Director of the Monaco Red Cross. “First of all, through financial support to the international movement.”

And rightly so: with more than 1.7 million euros in donations collected for the crisis, the Principality branch was able to support the Red Cross International Committee of the Red Cross (which operates in war zones) to the tune of 650,000 euros and the International Federation of Red Cross Societies (which takes care of the people who have fled) to the tune of 300,000 euros. 25,000 was also donated to UNAIDS; this action is to be repeated soon.

“There has been an incredible response from the public to our appeal for donations,” says Bertrand. “And a lot of empathy from Monegasques and residents.”

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Supporting families who have come to Monaco

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Valérie Corporandy – © Monaco Red Cross

It’s not just about financial support however. In the Principality, the Red Cross staff had to organise themselves quickly to deal with the families who had fled the country and who naturally got in touch with the charity. While most of these people were hosted by relatives in Monaco, the Red Cross, with the assistance of the Government of Monaco, provided logistical and financial support, as well as assistance with administrative procedures.

“Families are still arriving today,” says Valérie Corporandy, head of the social section of the Monegasque Red Cross. “Some settle in Monaco, others go to neighbouring towns. At present, 458 people – mainly women and children – have been helped by the Monegasque Red Cross. 260 of them have remained in the Principality, the others are in the Alpes-Maritimes.”

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And although finding housing for all these families is still an issue, there is no question of leaving them to fend for themselves. The charity has spent no less than 75,000 euros to provide them with service vouchers (vouchers for food and hygiene products, bus and train tickets, etc.).

At the same time, the Red Cross and its partners arranged the timely enrolment of children in school, medical check-ups for refugees, enrolment of newborns in crèches, as well as workshops for children (such as a gardening workshop at the Jardin Exotique). A counselling service is also available to families.

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© Monaco Red Cross

“All our partners stepped up and were very responsive,” said Bertrand. “The aim is to get these families as involved as possible in what is going on here in Monaco. The Government is a close and very valuable partner. It was able to provide the resources and act very quickly, for example with enrolling the children in school. We can be proud of how this crisis has been handled in Monaco: we have seen that we are flexible, that we know how to adapt.”

Interpreters also stepped in to help with the language barrier, the main difficulty encountered by the Red Cross. 70 refugees are also taking French lessons, thanks to a partnership with the Alliance Française.

Action on the ground

The final major element is to be on the ground, providing logistical support over there. Members of the Monegasque and Italian Red Cross went to the Romania/Ukraine border to provide maximum support for operations on Ukrainian territory.

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© Monaco Red Cross

“There were a lot of volunteers, but you can’t just turn up for this kind of trip, you have to be trained for it.” says Bertrand. “Very many volunteers have also helped out in the Red Cross clothing section, where refugees can come to get clothes from time to time,” adds Valérie Corporandy.

SEE ALSO Ukraine: Monaco Red Cross appeals for donations

The next and fourth stage will focus on rebuilding the country, once the conflict is over. Until then, the Red Cross can still count on donations that, even after several months, are still coming in: “People still come to give regularly,” says Yann Bertrand. “We can feel proud of the Monegasque nationals’ and residents’ outpouring of solidarity. More than 1.7 million euros have been raised by 40,000 inhabitants. I think we’re one of the most generous communities.”

To continue to support the Monegasque Red Cross in its actions in favour of Ukraine, you can make a donation:

By cheque : Croix-Rouge Monégasque – Ukraine – 27 bd de Suisse – 98000 Monaco.

On line : on the  Monaco Red Cross official website.

To become a volunteer, simply head over to 27 Boulevard de Suisse.