Record Amounts Donated in Support of Ukrainians

Birna Þórarinsdóttir, managing director of UNICEF in Iceland.

Birna Þórarinsdóttir, managing director of UNICEF in Iceland. Photo/UNICEF

Vala Hafstað

“It is obvious that people’s thoughts are with the people of Ukraine and all those who’ve had to flee the conflict,” Birna Þórarinsdóttir, managing director of UNICEF in Iceland, tells Morgunblaðið .

Several Icelandic charities have launched fundraising campaigns in support of the victims of the war in Ukraine. Morgunblaðið interviewed spokespersons for some of them yesterday.

Refugees in the Ukrainian city Lviv, waiting for a train …

Refugees in the Ukrainian city Lviv, waiting for a train to Poland. AFP

Birna states that as soon as Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began February 24, an emergency fundraising campaign was launched. The response was very positive. “We’ve received exceptional support,” she notes. “About ISK 35 million (USD 264,000; EUR 240,000) has been raised, which is unique for an emergency fundraiser. And we’re not nearly done yet.”

Those who want  to donate can choose an amount on the UNICEF website , or send the text message UNICEF to the phone number 1900. ISK 1,900 will then be transferred from your phone bill. You can donate as well when checking out at Krónan grocery stores.

Birna notes that one donation stood out among others. “We’re lucky enough to have a benefactor who promised to match any donation up to ISK 15 million.” He wished to remain anonymous.

The Red Cross reports that their fundraising effort is going very well. Yesterday, a total of ISK 37.5 million (USD 283,000; EUR 257,000) had been raised. “We’re very pleased with that,” states Brynhildur Bolladóttir, communications director for the Red Cross. As far as she knows, no emergency fundraiser has gone this well in the past, at least not in recent years.

Barnaheill-Save the Children in Iceland is accepting contributions to the victims of the war, and the response has been good. The same goes for the Icelandic Church Aid (Hjálparstarf kirkjunnar) and UN Women in Iceland.

The fundraising of SOS Children’s Villages has gone very well, too. “We’ve already received ISK 8 million from the public, and in addition, the board of SOS decided to contribute ISK 5 million from an emergency fund,” states Hans Steinar Bjarnason, SOS’ communications director. “That’s a total of ISK 13 million, and I think it’s a record, at least as far as emergency fundraisers go.”


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