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Dr Christou, MSF International President, during the interview © MSF Luxembourg

Ukraine

"No victim of war should be left behind neither in Ukraine nor beyond"

Dr Christou, MSF International President, during the interview © MSF Luxembourg
Christos Chistou, Président International de Médecins Sans Frontières  ©MSF/Pierre-Yves Bernard
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Christos Christou - International President of MSF
Acknowledging the generosity of Luxembourgers in the face of the Ukrainian conflict, Dr Christou recalled "the importance of continuing to support not only this cause, but also the organisation's work in other conflicts, notably in Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria and even Iraq".

    On 24 April, 2022, Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) Luxembourg organised its first art auction to benefit its emergency medical action in the presence of MSF's international President, Dr Christos Christou.

    How the Ukrainian emergency has affected MSF and its other missions? 

    It was with a surprise that we had to evolve very quickly MSF emergency activities in Ukraine, were we were present since 2014 addressing needs related mainly to tuberculosis, HIV, but also the treatment of chronic diseases such as diabetes.

    Today we have more than a 130 people that they come from different parts of the world, next to more than 200 locally hired staff, trying not only to assess the needs of each one of the places that are affected, but also to prepare those places that may be next in the war to provide trainings, for example. We are also ensuring that they have enough medical supplies; and looking at the needs of those that can be more excluded or left behind, like vulnerable people or elder people.

    Although the war in Ukraine has attracted the general interest, I really glad to see how everyone is expressing their generosity, solidarity and support to people seeking for safety or the refugees that come from Ukraine.

    But it is important to remind that this is not the only crisis we have in the world and, directly for MSF there is no impact because we still have huge humanitarian projects in many other places, and we try very proportionally to distribute our resource to meet people’s needs.

    What are the difficulties faced by MSF on the field in Ukraine?

    As an example, I can tell you about difficulties to access those places that have been mostly affected, like Mariupol- one of the cities that has been hardly hit-.

    We also have difficulties to understand what will be happening next. Bringing supplies in is another challenge, together with the transfer of people and patients from places that have been affected, or will be affected soon, to others that can be safer it also not easy these days.

    How different is the Ukraine conflict from other conflicts you have addressed as MSF?

    This war has already brought many geo-political shifts and, some of them, will last for years even decades to come out. But at the same time, the pattern of a war where you see indiscriminate bombing, you see people trying to flee, seeking for refuges, you see victims that they are always innocent citizens of a country or a state… This is something that we have been witnessing in all other places where we were and we are, such as the Balkans in the past, Chechenia, Afghanistan, Yemen, Syria, Iraq… just to mention a few.

    That’s why I insist, that behind who is taking part in a war, what is important to remind to ourselves is who is the victim. We stand, as MSF, in solidarity with all those affected by this conflict, but also with those that will be indirectly affected in all other places.

    How is the war impacting the work of MSF Luxembourg?

    MSF Luxembourg these days shows that we are all here to express solidarity and find ways to make sure that all this solidarity shown by the people will reach those that they need it.

    What why try to do is to engage more with our supporters. Bring them closer, and be very transparent in what and how this solidarity and donations will be used, and where. And also come back to them, updated them on the situation. And this is what we are doing.

    Any last words?

    While MSF is mobilising people from all over the world for this war, we are witnessing a very discriminated treatment of the European Union towards other refugees, patients of ours, fleeing from other crisis, conflicts and wars.

    And this of course doesn’t make any sense to us.

     

     

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