Amid the concerns and chaos since Russia's invasion of Ukraine, rescue efforts for the country's estimated two million handicapped people have been hampered.
"Just imagine if you're a quadriplegic like me -- I can't use my hands; I'm in a wheelchair," Joni & Friends founder Joni Eareckson Tada recently posed to the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN). "If you were on the seventh floor of an apartment building, and you were in Mariupol being bombed, and there were rocket strikes -- it's not like you can jump out of bed, grab a few things, rush out the front door, and make a dash for the border. You can't do that."
So while many remain stuck in a frightening situation, Tada's organization has been working with its in-country partner, a person only identified as Galyna.
"Galyna and our teams have been out searching for these people, even in the most dangerous eastern parts of Ukraine, to rescue them and get them across the border to safe haven," Tada detailed. "We've evacuated over 300 people with disabilities thus far and caregivers, and we're still active; believe me."
She also told CBN construction on a Joni's House, "a place where people living with disability find hope in Jesus, wholistic care, and a valued role in their community," was ready to start in Ukraine at the time of the invasion, but all of the materials meant for the center have been reallocated and redirected for homes and care facilities to protect the elderly with disabilities.
Meanwhile, Samaritan's Purse, the disaster relief ministry, has helped more than 25,000 people in Ukraine and surrounding countries since the first plane load of personnel and supplies landed there March 4.
AFN has reported that the ministry set up an emergency field hospital on the outskirts of Lviv, Ukraine. The first patients were seen March 14.
A medical clinic has now been set up at a train station in the city, too.