More than two million people have fled Ukraine since the Russian invasion began and while the UK dragged its feet in welcoming refugees, surrounding nations have leapt into action.
Over the border in Hungary, NGOs, charities and street papers have been rushing to the aid of 200,000 people from Ukraine seeking safety.
Boldizsár Győri, a student at the National University of Public Service in Budapest, told the International Network of Street Papers (INSP) – a global membership group for street papers like The Big Issue – of a remarkable effort to offer help that spanned society.
“The arrival of refugees was expected: what we saw on social media and the whispers coming from the border, every rumour, all proved to be true,” said Győri. “And immediately, the country moved as one to properly welcome those people who had witnessed the destruction of their homeland within 48 hours.
“Public transport buses parked in front of the main train stations, where refugees could get warm. At the border, all major aid organisations have set up tents, where those who are coming over receive food, blankets and any kind of help.
“In the first few days, taxis were replaced by volunteers who would transport the arrivals by car to the capital or to the nearest city or town for free. I took a shipment of aid with the Caritas organisation to the western Ukrainian region of Transcarpathia over the weekend. At the Hungarian side of the border, at one of the crossings, so much food was collected that it was even offered to us, otherwise the sandwiches would have gone bad.”