Jill Biden hails Romanian efforts to help Ukrainian refugees

U.S. First Lady Jill Biden on Saturday praised the Romanian government and aid organizations for the range of humanitarian aid they are providing to Ukrainians fleeing Russia’s war on their country. She called the solidarity show “incredible” but also “this is just the beginning.” Biden delivered his sober assessment at the end of a nearly hour-long briefing at the US Embassy in Bucharest on the massive relief effort.

He was told Romania had “taken in” nearly 900,000 refugees from Ukraine since Russia invaded its neighbor on February 24, but most have left for other countries. Women and children make up the bulk of the refugees.

“It’s amazing. It’s out of solidarity here in Romania that you’re all working together,” Biden said. “I think this is really, unfortunately, just the beginning. Just the beginning.” She also applauded the Romanians for their generosity.

“The Romanian people are amazing to welcome all these refugees into their homes and offer them food, clothes and shelter and give them their hearts,” she added. “I think the world knows that.” About 7,000 Ukrainians cross the border and arrive in Romania daily, said Pablo Zapata, the Romanian representative of the UN refugee agency.

The UN and other agencies as well as the Romanian government provide the refugees with a range of services, including food, shelter, education, health and mental health care and counselling, among other services.

Biden asked specific questions about the provision of mental health services and whether summer schools were available to help refugee students catch up on academics.

The first lady was briefed as she opened the second day of a four-day trip to Romania and Slovakia designed to showcase American support for Ukrainian refugees. Slovakia also shares a border with Ukraine. Biden was to spend Sunday there meeting with refugees.

After the briefing, Biden met with Romanian first lady Carmen Iohannis over lunch at her private residence. Iohannis kept his job as an English teacher, just as Biden kept his.

Biden was then visiting a school and meeting with Ukrainian refugee students and their parents.

It ended Saturday in Bratislava, Slovakia, in preparation for their Sunday stops to spend Mother’s Day with refugees and visit a village on the border with Ukraine.

(This story has not been edited by the Devdiscourse team and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

Helen D. Jessen