In Romania, Anxiety Runs Thick With Ukrainian Refugees Pouring In

I am not an expert in politics or war, but as a human being, I am interested in the well being of other human beings and particularly in the situation we have woken up to.

So far 7,000 Ukranians have made their way to Romania to be safe. Many families are opening their homes to provide them with safe refuge. Officials in Bucharest say that we are ready to admit 5,00,000 Ukranians and shelters are being created.

With the war-breaking in Ukraine, Romania, which has two borders with Ukraine (650 km) is in a tight spot. Media is ablaze with war news. Everything you hear all around is about Ukraine, so pretty much we are in the middle of it.

The political statements issued so far have asked people to stay calm and an attack on Romania is highly unlikely. Never in our history were we as well prepared to defend ourselves.

Ukranians refugees taking rest as they walk into safety in Romania. (Photo credit: Andrea Sipos)

But as the Russians move closer to our borders, Romanians are more and more worried. There’s talk about this war everywhere. Everyone has the same question: what next? How will it affect us? How safe are we really?

No one believes that Russia would dare attack a member of NATO but then again, no one here believed they would really attack Ukraine.

While NATO sends more soldiers and war planes to the military bases, I see messages on social media from many Romanians opening their homes to offer shelter to those how they manage to cross the border and need help.

Refugees have started coming into Romania since yesterday morning, most of them from the towns closer to the border. Most of them managed to find accommodation with their friends and relatives here (many of them represent the Romanian minority of Ukraine).

As numbers increase, our authorities are organizing temporary refugee camps and open all the available buildings that can serve the purpose.

Until now thousands have crossed the borders into Romania, many of them on foot. Most of them are women with children and elders as men must stay back and fight.

But in the commune Varfu Campului of Botosani County, about 30 km from the northeast border with Ukraine, the mayor says they had an increased number of Ukrainians asking for permanent residency in the last 30 days or so.

Romanian children are still mostly at home as schools continue to follow online as the Covid-19 guidelines are still in place.

Markets and shops are open as usual too but some people have started making provisions of things like oil, flour, rice as they believe (rightfully so) that this will affect the prices and also the supplies.

No special measure was announced by the government so far apart from the ones that regard the military preparations that they make.

500,000 is indeed a huge number, all the cities on the border are making arrangements.

These include sport halls and other buildings being converted into shelters for refugees and also tents that are being put up. As of now we have 7,000 Ukrainians who managed to enter Romania.

Are Romanians calm? No, I would say most of them are not. Most of them are worried, some are scared but there is no panic yet.