Russia-Ukraine Crisis

Bay Area Organizations Prep for Humanitarian Crisis, Local Settlement Groups

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Thousands of Ukrainians have fled their country in just the last 48 hours and this is just the beginning. 

Humanitarian organizations are now bracing for the expected humanitarian crisis, including local settlement groups in the Bay Area. 

“Our role is to be on the ground for crisis response when people need a new home,” said Robin Mencher, chief executive officer at Jewish Family and Community Services East Bay.

Jewish Family and Community Services (JFCS) has been resettling refugees since 1877. They have a partnership with the international organization Hias and have now sent staff members directly to Ukraine.

San Francisco City Hall lit up to support Ukraine Friday evening.

“To assess the situation and then report back to us and more than 25 other local affiliates who are looking to gear up to receive recently displaced people who are going to resettle here in the east bay,” said Mencher.

JFCS is also offering its services to those in the Bay Area with loved ones in Ukraine and they’re actively collecting funds and goods to stock a new home for arriving refugees.

But they note it could be a while before the wave reaches America.

“They need to fulfill very specific criteria in order to be able to be identified as a refugee and then once in that neighboring country or second country or whatever country outside of their country of origin they need to go through a vetting process that is pretty vigorous,” said Jane Pak, CEO of Refugee and Immigrant Transitions.  

And then once approved, they would be assigned to a refugee resettlement agency who would bring them into the country.

On Friday, East Bay Congresswoman Barbara Lee also said the administration has sent in disaster rescue teams to help assess the crisis.

“The administration talked about and said we will do everything we can do to allow for refugees to come to our country, its important people are dying they are fleeing people are afraid, its traumatizing,” said Lee.

Many Bay Area lawmakers, who are on key committees discussed the U.S. policy decisions when it comes to Ukraine and Russia. Ian Cull reports.
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