This Sunday, March 6 afternoon, in front of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church on rue de Palestine, in the east of Paris, the volunteers of the Ukrainian Scouts of France are busy. Residents follow one another, bringing who their packet of pasta or their can of ravioli, who their batch of toothpaste and soaps, who their sachet of bandages and disinfectants.
A little further on, the town hall at 20and arrondissement has opened its own collection, like a very large number of municipalities, the Association of Mayors of France (AMF) having called on the municipalities on February 25 to mobilize. But, in a press release dated March 7, the AMF indicates that “The needs of Ukrainians are now primarily focused on specific equipment” and instead invite “the town halls to amplify the momentum of solidarity in the form of financial donations”.
Certainly, giving in kind has its virtues, including that of allowing everyone to express their solidarity in an immediate, concrete way. “All types of donations are useful and, in France, the local branches of the Red Cross collect food and clothing every day, explains Florent Vallée, director of emergency and relief operations at La Croix-Rouge, who has opened a donation platform dedicated to Ukraine.. But, internationally, we do not send in-kind donations for a whole host of reasons. »
First of all, “Our teams on site tell us that the warehouses are already full, because the Poles, but also the Hungarians and the Romanians have been extremely generous”, specifies Frédéric Théret, director of development at the Fondation de France, which has already raised 5 million euros for Ukraine. “The risk is also that we are unable to manage everything because the logistics require a lot of space and people.I “, continues Florent Vallée.
What’s more, “a package of pasta that is transported to Ukraine is very expensive in transport, continues Frédéric Théret. Conversely, a transfer costs nothing and is faster than a parcel or a convoy. For me, the most effective international donation is therefore the cash donation, which allows us to help the local associations on the spot which, they can buy exactly according to the needs. »“The cash donation also has the merit of allowing an action to take place over time, which is essential in humanitarian crises, continues Florent Vallée. The money also makes it possible to buy on the spot, which favors the local economy. »
However, there are cases where equipment donations can be useful. Created in 2014, the France-Ukraine Medical and Charitable Association sends medical equipment to Ukraine. “It can be difficult to find the necessary quantity in neighboring countries, so we transport it by convoysays Diane Dols, head of international humanitarian action. We collect money to buy first aid kits for the injured, but, for health security reasons, we do not collect medicines from individuals. On the other hand, we have launched a call for donations of medical equipment from companies and hospitals. On Thursday, for example, Biotech will send three truckloads of drugs to Poland. »