To Assist Ukrainian Flood Victims in Transcarpathian Region

Jesus Knocking at Your Door - Lenten Project Theme Icon
Theme-Icon for Lenten Project - 2001
Jesus Knocks at Your Door
Will You Answer Him?

Great Lent - 2001

March 8, 2001

Dear Friends:

I approach you during this holy season of the year, a time when we focus on self-sacrifice, uniting our spiritual and material efforts to the ultimate sacrifice of Jesus on the Cross.

I hope that you all have had the opportunity to review the information regarding our Metropolia's Lenten Charitable Project, "SPARE CHANGE FOR UKRAINE."

There is great importance in the practice of self-denial during the season of Lent, a Christian work that we must all be involved in, as individuals, as parishes and together, as a Metropolia.

I speak to you about this matter because of its extreme urgency. I have just received a communiqué from Fr. Ken Nowakowski, who is the director of Caritas Ukraine. In an announcement which you will find below, Fr. Ken explains the state of affairs in the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine, where living conditions which have already been in a terrible state due to previous flooding, have just become worse, because of more torrential rains which have devastated the area.

Our humble project has already been targeted to benefit Caritas Ukraine, but I approach each and every one of you to join with and help us in this cause, which we will apply to help the many thousands of people whose homes have been threatened or destroyed by this natural disaster.

Great Lent is a time which gives us an added opportunity to unite our sacrifices to those of Christ on the Cross, and in a fitting symbolic gesture, our parishioners throughout the Metropolia will bring their offerings of self-denial to place at Our Lord's grave on Great and Holy Friday. Won't you join us in contributing to help those who have lost their homes and livlihood?

All contributions are tax-deductable and will be added to those coming in from the individual parishes and then forwarded to L'viv, Ukraine, directly to the office of Fr. Nowakowski, for the Caritas Ukraine Flood Relief Program. Checks may be made payable to "Ukrainian Autocephalous Orthodox Church - Lenten Flood Relief Charity." Also, if any of you are able to pass this important information on to your family and friends, we would be most grateful.

The icon above is the "theme-icon" for this year's Lenten charitable campaign. It represents the idea that when we serve our brothers and sisters who are poor, needy or devastated, it is Christ himself we are serving and that Jesus is continually knocking at our doors, asking us to respond to the needs of his people, our people, who are suffering.

Below are (1) the announcement from the office of Caritas Ukraine about the devastating flood situation and (2) my original announcement about our Metropolia's Lenten project (also available at www.uaoc.org/lentenregulations2001.html).

I look forward to a successful campaign to help those in need, and thank you in advance for your generosity. It is not me, but Jesus himself who is knocking at each of your doors, asking you to open your hearts to our brothers and sisters who have suffered this terrible misfortune. Let us all listen to the voice of our souls, calling us to help those in such deep need.

I ask God to bless all of you for your kindness and heartfelt generosity.

Archbishop of Cleveland
Eparchial Bishop

++++++++++ From: Emergency Desk

Caritas Ukraine
Vul. Ozarkevycha
79016 LVIV, Ukraine
tel./fax: 380322 971256
e-mail: tolik@caritas-ukraine

Reference: Floods in Ukraine, March 2001

Caritas Ukraine is requesting emergency assistance for the following flood relief-program.

1. Description of the situation:

Information on the flood situation in the territory of Transcarpathian region (Western Ukraine)

Between March 4-6, 2001, there were heavy rains in the Transcarpathian region of Western Ukraine. According to the data of the local Hydrometeorological Centre, 30 to 70 mm of precipitation fell within two days in that region, which is on the average 80% higher than the March monthly norm, which caused a water level rise of up to 5.8 meters in the Dniester, the Stryi, the Tissa, the Rika, the Borzhava, the Latorytsia rivers and their tributaries. In many places rivers overflowed their banks and inundated crop fields and destroyed a great number of buildings.

Based on recent news from the region, the situation is even worse than it was in November 1998, when the highest recorded water level swept away thousands of houses, and which was called the Flood of the Century. Now water levels are significantly higher at almost all points by the river Tissa.

As it is the situation on Tuesday morning (information coming from the local authorities of Uzhhorod), 192 settlements are partially or wholly flooded, thousands had to be evacuated. The river tore apart its dams at three points above the town of T_cs_ (Tjaciv), where 25 thousand inhabitants are threatened by the flood. The river is now actually flowing through the streets, flooding houses and sweeping away whatever is in its way. Lots of people are waiting on tree tops or on the roofs of their houses to be saved. Ukrainian authorities have asked their Hungarian colleagues for helicopters and sand bags. Helicopters have already arrived in the area, where soldiers helping in the evacuation are said to be stuck on tree tops, too. According to recent news, one soldier was drowned in his amphibious vehicle in the town.

Other towns in the area are also in a critical situation. Visk (Vhiskove) and Huszt (Chust) are surrounded by the flood and are unapproachable. In the latter town an 80-year-old woman died yesterday, when her house was suddenly flooded.

Tiszabkny and Mezavri, settlements that suffered serious damages in the 1998 flood, are now in danger again. Part of them is already under water, like lots of other villages by the Tisza river, and other creeks flowing into the Tisza. 74 settlements have no electricity, 56 settlements can no more be contacted by phone, a lot of places have serious problems with water supply, and sections of roads and railroads have simply been washed off or ruined. Authorities must face the problem of providing shelters for thousands people. So far they managed to evacuate 7,136 inhabitants. More than 20,000 persons are at work to prevent more damages as well as to help relief.

Since there is hardly any contact possible with the flooded places, exact data about all the damages are still not available. Besides, the situation is still deteriorating in some places, which means that news about more extensive damages are to be expected. However, it is already clearly a catastrophe for Transcarpathia, one of the poorest regions of Ukraine. Mr. Leonid Kuchma, the President of Ukraine, announced of his arrival to Transcarpathian region in the next few days.

Transcarpathian region:

- at least 350,000 people suffered from the natural disaster;
- 130 populated areas have been flooded;
- 5 bridges have been destroyed;
- railway traffic has been interrupted because the railway bed has been washed out in the flooded areas;
- automobile traffic has been interrupted on the roads in areas hit with the flood;
- power lines have been destroyed in some districts;
- there is no telephone communication in 5 districts;
- more than 7,000 people have been evacuated from the critical flood zone and another 20,000 people are to be evacuated in next few days;
- there are casualties (the exact numbers are being verified).

2. Targeted beneficiaries by Caritas:

Caritas Ukraine has defined relief points for the flood victims in the parochial centers of the organization. Assistance will be provided to the socially weak families, who will be provided with food parcels, containing sugar, vegetable oil, flour, macaroni, rice. Depending on the amount of funds collected, the food-parcel could be supplied with canned meat, milk powder and baby-food.

3. Other intervening relief agencies:

The Ukrainian Maltese-order and the Ukrainian Red-Cross are also operational.

4. Items needed:

All items needed (see above) will be purchased locally.

Items needed Quantity Est. amount in USD $
1. Food parcels 10,000 100,000.00
2. Detergents 2,000 10,000.00
3. Medical-kits 500 2,500.00
Transport 13 tours 5,200.00
Sub-total 117,700.00

5. Suggested program:

Caritas Ukraine will distribute family-parcels via its network and the local parishes. The national office of Caritas Ukraine will coordinate the whole program.

6. Total amount requested in US$:

Emergency Relief - 117,700.00
Administration costs - 8,300.00

Total - 126,000.00

7. Fund transfer channel:

Account 0471 3070 of ELECTRON BANK, LVIV, UKRAINE,
for International Charity Foundation "Caritas Ukraine"
account 2600.6000000329/3901.5000000001

We have been given assurances from the Ukrainian Cabinet of Ministry's Committee for Humanitarian Aid questions, that all funds that will be sent to this account will not be blocked, but receive immediate clearance for use in the project.

With kind regards

Anatoly Kozak
Project Coordinator
Caritas Ukraine



This year, our Metropolia has devised a Lenten project called "Spare Change For Ukraine."

It is important that besides the traditional practices of prayer and fasting, each Christian also be involved in active, charitable deeds called "almsgiving" which reach out to our brothers and sisters in need, both at home and around the world. One way in which we can be involved in this pious practice as a corporate eparchial community is through this project.

We are asking every parishioner in our Metropolia to place their spare change at the end of each day of Lent into a bank or box of some type. The program is meant to be a daily reminder of our obligation to respond to others' needs, as we are called to do in the Gospels and emphasizes the universal nature of the Church.

On Good Friday, parishioners are to bring their collected change in a receptacle, to church and place it at the Grave of Our Lord.

This charitable act will unite our sacrifices to those of Our Lord Jesus Christ, who gave the ultimate sacrifice of his life, for the sake of our salvation.

The coins should be collected and rolled by a team of parishioners and the proceeds forwarded to the Chancery Office for donation to "Caritas Ukraine - Lviv, Kyiv, Uzhorod, and Ternopil." Caritas Ukraine is a social welfare, health and training agency maintained by the church in Ukraine. Click here for more information on Caritas Ukraine.

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