Stories
27 Apr 2022
By: Maria Gema Cortes

Go behind the scenes at IOM’s warehouse in Slovakia

At IOM’s warehouse in Košice, a city in eastern Slovakia roughly 100 kilometres from the border with Ukraine, there is more to the simple loading of boxes than first meets the eye.

The importance of this 3,500 square meter warehouse has been brought into focus after the increase to 7.7 million people internally displaced within Ukraine in the past month, with violence driving families to flee their homes to the western part of the country.

As part of IOM’s regional response to assist people affected by the war, the Supply Chain Hub provides life-saving assistance for people on the move as well as the communities receiving them. Since March 2022, up to 5,100 metric tons of critical supplies have been received in Košice and is continuously being shipped to Ukraine.

“We are shipping about 100 tons of critical assistance in 8 to 10 trucks inside Ukraine per day, through a large-scale coordinated effort. This is helping to reduce the suffering of thousands of people on the move and host communities,” said Ilyas Masih, IOM Supply Chain Manager.

Since the beginning of the war, over 5,100 metric tons of supplies have been received in Košice for distribution to various locations in Ukraine. © IOM / Maria Gema Cortes

The live-saving assistance includes kitchen sets, hygiene kits, shelter items, plastic sheets, water containers, blankets, mattresses, and winterization kits.

To meet the enormous humanitarian challenges, IOM is scaling up its storage capacity to 15,000 square metres of warehouse space in Košice, where supplies will continue to be received from different countries for safe storage, including from IOM warehouses in Greece and Turkey. In turn, IOM will continue working to ensure rapid distribution of aid to various locations inside Ukraine where needs are more pressing.

“IOM would like to thank the state authorities of the Slovak Republic for their extraordinary collaboration, and the same good cooperation with the Ukrainian borders and services to speed deliveries,” said Zuzana Vatráľová, Head of the IOM Office in Slovakia.

IOM is scaling up its supply chain team to ensure the efficient delivery of aid to displaced people. © IOM / Maria Gema Cortes

Aside from expanding storage capacity, IOM is also expanding its team in the country to organize the large volume of urgent supplies being transported, including checking and monitoring goods and recording data.

Maria Perhac did not hesitate to join the IOM team in her own country, Slovakia, when she heard about the opportunity.

“I want to help our neighbours; it is the least I can do from my side. I am working to send the supplies to Ukraine, basic goods that can make a change in the life of people there, because most of them have lost everything,” she said, among caterpillars swiftly loading boxes into trucks heading for Ukraine.

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This story was written by Gema Cortes, IOM Media and Communications Unit for the Ukraine Response.