Churches unite to help thousands of stranded passengers in Moscow's airports
Religious organizations in Russia have begun efforts to help the thousands of passengers stranded for days in Moscow airports.
Thousands of passengers remain stranded at the Moscow major airports of Sheremetyevo and Domodedovo following an ice storm that hit the entire territory of Central Russia over the weekend. Hundreds of flights have been canceled and delayed as severe freezing rain caused serious power outages. Some 20,000 passengers have been affected by the weather.
The Jewish Community Federation of Russia on Tuesday sent a truck loaded with 1,500 bottles of water and children's wafers to Domodedovo International Airport.
Most of the aid sent to the capital's airports are for families with small children.
"We understand that our help today to those at Domodedovo Airport is a minor contribution to what they need right now, but we nonetheless hope that even this will help the people," the Jewish Community's president, Alexander Boroda, said.
When asked if the religious organizations' activities could be coordinated into one single organization, Andrei Glotser, a member of the Jewish community, said that unfortunately there are no inter-confessional groups to handle crisis situations in Russia as of yet, but the creation of such a group was discussed earlier in December.
"Today, 500 bottles of water, around 200 packs of moist towels, and approximately 1,000 disposable diapers will be delivered to Domodedovo," the Russian Orthodox Church's Social Activity and Charity Department's press secretary, Vasily Rulinsky, said.
The Islamic Russia Muftis Council will on Wednesday hand out traditional pastries to the passengers stranded at Domodedovo, Moscow's head imam, Ildar Alyautdinov, told RIA Novosti.
"We are happy to take part in the charity work initiated by the Jewish Community Federation of Russia and the Orthodox Church. On Wednesday we will deliver more than 1,000 echmochmak pastries to the airports of the Russian capital, where thousands of passengers are in need of help," Alyautdinov said.
The charity members of the churches said that the situation is not as acute at the Sheremetyevo or Vnukovo airports, but said they would help if that need arises.
Russia's head doctor, Gennady Onishchenko, who visited Domodedovo International Airport earlier on Tuesday, said that the airport is extremely overcrowed as it was designed to hold some 3,000 people; however, the number of people has risen to approximately 10,000. "I'm glad the toilets are still working," he said.
MOSCOW, December 28 (RIA Novosti)