The following is an open letter from Alaska Structures, Inc.
At Alaska Structures, our thoughts and prayers are with the brave men and women in Ukraine fighting for democracy and the sovereignty of their country, and those fleeing the unprovoked military attack from Russia.
Russian War on Ukraine – Neighboring Countries Brace for Potential Conflict and Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Europe and Allied Forces are on high alert should the conflict escalate into neighboring countries. During a recent press conference, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg stated, “NATO will continue to take all necessary measures to protect and defend all Allies, including by reinforcing the eastern part of the Alliance.”
After Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014 and following the 2016 Warsaw Summit, NATO established four multinational battlegroups in Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland. Led by the United States, the UK, Canada, and Germany, the combat-ready battlegroups strengthened NATO’s deterrence and defense in eastern and southeastern Europe. Despite efforts to pursue diplomacy, the Russian War on Ukraine has prompted the consideration of enhancing defense capabilities with additional NATO battlegroups to deter further Russian territorial aggression, including acts of aggression against NATO members bordering Russia. Should additional battlegroups be needed to strengthen force protection and improve deterrence, NATO and Allied Forces will need rapidly deployable military shelters to quickly establish military base camps and forward operating sites (F.O.S.).
A Ukrainian Refugee Crisis in the Making
Fierce and creative Ukrainian resistance has slowed invading Russian forces. Should the conflict intensify, and the invasion overtakes Kyiv and other large cities, the displacement of hundreds of thousands to millions of Ukrainians could quickly overwhelm borders and existing immigrant facilities in neighboring countries. According to Romania’s interior minister, Lucian Bode, “We are currently analyzing how many refugee camps we can install in a relatively short time: 10, 12, 24 hours.” The makings for a migrant crisis not seen since World War II exist.
Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Moldova have agreed to receive and accommodate Ukrainian citizens fleeing Russia’s attack. With the possibility of long-term displacement, Ukrainians will need temporary housing capable of withstanding the cold winter weather, food, clothing, as well as education and healthcare services while seeking resettlement. To avoid a Ukrainian refugee crisis, the U.N. Refugee Agency is asking the international community for $190 million in humanitarian assistance to help meet the needs of 1.8 million people, as outlined in the 2022 Humanitarian Response Plan for Ukraine.
Military Shelters Created an “Instant City” during the Afghanistan Humanitarian Crisis in 2021
There are lessons from recent refugee emergencies that apply here. In response to the Afghanistan Humanitarian Crisis, in less than one week’s time, a flight line at Germany’s Ramstein Air Base was transformed into an “instant city” capable of housing up to 12,000 Afghanistan evacuees at a time. Ramstein Air Base is the headquarters for the U.S. Air Force in Europe and NATO’s Allied Air Command.
More than 350 military shelters from Alaska Structures were allocated from War Reserve Material (WRM) stocks and used as the U.S. European Command’s (EUCOM) primary evacuation hub for Operation Allies Refuge, supporting the largest and most complex humanitarian evacuations in history. The “instant city” provided families from Afghanistan with temporary housing, food, water, clothing, hygiene facilities, medical tents, worship areas, and screening facilities before they could be transported and resettled to other locations.
- Alaska Structures, Inc
- United States