‘More and more’ Ukrainian evacuees choosing to settle in Manitoba: UCC
Posted July 3, 2022 12:44 pm.
Hundreds of Ukrainian refugees have moved to Manitoba since the beginning of Russia’s unprovoked war on Ukraine, and those helping settle the refugees say that number continues to rise.
It’s been more than four months since Russia started its brutal war on Ukraine, killing thousands and displacing millions.
Around 1,500 Ukrainian evacuees are now calling Manitoba home.
“Every day at the airport now, there are about 30, 40, 50 people on average,” said Nick Krawetz, a volunteer with the Ukrainian Canadian Congress welcome desk. “Last week, there was actually 64 people one day, so the numbers are fluctuating.
“Every day, there’s more and more coming.”
Manitoba has set up a welcome desk at Winnipeg’s airport to help refugees settle in the province.
Krawetz has been working non-stop to bring refugees to Manitoba since the beginning of the war. He says many refugees are moving from other provinces to Manitoba.
“Initially, there were a lot of people going to Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver and a lot of those people were posting in the various groups on social media saying that’s where they were going. Once they get there, they realize the cost of living is much higher than Manitoba or Winnipeg, sometimes even double for an apartment.
“The word is getting out that Manitoba is the place to come to, not only because of the cost for living, but the number of supports available to them.”
Manitoba providing accommodation, health cards
Krawetz says Manitoba continues to lead the country in helping out Ukrainians.
The province is providing temporary accommodations at hotels, providing supports for health cards and documentation and is providing housing for long-term stays.
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But with more refugees arriving every day, are there enough supports, such as housing, available for the newcomers?
“They are finding apartments, so it takes time,” said Krawetz. “You can’t do it overnight. That transition is occurring.”
Krawetz says finding housing isn’t the only concern. Some are struggling to find the English-language training they need.
“If they don’t have a sufficient level of English, it is very hard to find a job,” he said. “So, having increased spots at these English-language programs is critical for them.”
As the war wages on, Krawetz says it’s important to continue supporting Ukraine.
“You don’t have to be Ukrainian to do that. This is on a human level. Nobody should be going through the hell that Ukrainians are living through right now.”