IRU passenger transport members help Ukrainian refugees

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Passenger transport members of the world transport organisation IRU in the European Union meeting in Brussels have launched an initiative for coordinated action to match private coach and bus operators with Ukrainian refugee transport needs, together with the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR).

With refugees from Ukraine now numbering over two million and with that figure continuing to rise, coach and bus companies across the European Union and beyond are spontaneously offering help. While some support is already on the move, IRU recognised that it has become increasingly complicated to match refugee numbers and their travel needs to shelters across the EU. Global coordinator of refugee movements, UNHCR is joining forces with IRU to roll out efficient solutions to transport refugees.

“IRU passenger transport members have shown an outpouring of support to help refugees since the crisis began. This new action to support UNHCR will coordinate transport operators to get appropriate help precisely to those who need it most,” said Patrick Westelinck, President of IRU’s Passenger Transport Council.

The action will see IRU’s passenger transport members support UNHCR’s operational hubs to provide coach and bus transport over the coming weeks. This will include transport from the Ukrainian border, as well as from hubs such as Warsaw to onward European destinations.

“IRU has been in constant contact with the European Commission and with its EU members on the Ukraine crisis. IRU is also exploring facilitation measures at an EU level for humanitarian passenger transport. We look forward to continuing to coordinate vital support from our industry alongside this new action with UNHCR,” said Raluca Marian, IRU’s Director for EU Advocacy.

Since the crisis began, IRU has worked with governments, authorities and EU institutions to support humanitarian transport and help stranded drivers.