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People in Finland united in support for Ukraine

Aid groups in Finland say donations pouring in for war-ravaged Ukraine are unprecedented.

Kaksi lasta pitelee Punaisen Ristin keräyslippaita käsissään.
Sofia Niemelä and Jemina Lohtari collected money for Ukraine in Asikkala, north of Lahti, at the end of February. Image: Janne Nykänen / Yle
Yle News

People in Finland have donated more than ten million euros to support the people of Ukraine since Russia's invasion.

Humanitarian relief organisations in Finland said the relatively close proximity of the crisis is prompting people into action compared to other disasters.

"It's completely exceptional. I've never seen people so mobilised to donate and help," said Jouni Hemberg of Finn Church Aid.

As of Friday, Finland's major aid groups—Unicef, the Finnish Red Cross and Finn Church Aid—had received more than 10 million euros for people caught up in the war in Ukraine.

Not only is the amount of donated money unusual, so is the quick pace at which it has flowed into aid agencies' coffers.

Finn Church Aid said its Ukraine drive pulled in more than two million euros in one week, whereas a previous fundraising drive for victims of Haiti's earthquake drew 1.25 million euros in total.

While private individuals account for the bulk of donations, several companies and local governments are also sending money to charities.

For individuals, it's easiest to donate cash through trusted charities. But many people in Finland have also opted to transfer money directly into Ukrainian bank accounts.

Ukraine's central bank has, for example, opened fundraising accounts for direct donations.

OP Bank has reported a spike in transfers to Ukraine since the war began.

"Normally, we'll see very few private transfers to Ukraine—maybe 10 or 15 a day. On the second day of the war there was a 16-fold increase in this traffic," said Antti Karhu, a director of payment services at OP Bank.

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