As the Island continues to show its support for innocent Ukrainians fleeing the destruction of their homes, Islanders have reason to thank the staff and commissioners of Jersey Overseas Aid and minister Carolyn Labey.

The professionalism of JOA has already ensured that support given by the Island, both officially and by individual citizens, is reaching those who most need it in Ukraine and its bordering countries. As JOA’s executive director, Simon Boas, discussed in an interview with this newspaper on Saturday, the expertise of the organisation and its network of contacts with humanitarian organisations on the ground provide reassurance that appropriate aid is being channelled effectively.

One example is the gift by Health and Community Services of oxygen concentrators acquired to protect Islanders from the effects of Covid-19. It responds to an immediate need of the Ukrainian health department, which was able to indicate those needs thanks to the JOA’s contacts on the ground. Money donated by Islanders to the Bailiff’s appeal, far from sitting idly in a bank account, has already been applied to the purchase of life-saving medical equipment, again thanks to the professionalism of the team at JOA. They are working long hours to ensure that the immediate and desperate needs of those affected by the European war does not result in the neglect of the vulnerable elsewhere. What Mr Boas described as their ‘ordinary work’ continues uninterrupted.

If there are those who think it curious that an island the size of Jersey should need an Overseas Aid Minister, the way that we have responded to the crisis vindicates entirely Deputy Labey’s seat at the ministerial table. Moreover, Jersey has for some time engaged at ministerial level with developing jurisdictions, applying the particular skills of the Island – whether in agriculture or finance – to develop meaningful aid partnerships beyond a simple signing of cheques.

Ukraine is the victim of unprovoked aggression, just as Western Europe – of which the Channel Islands formed a vulnerable part – was more than 80 years ago. Today we have the opportunity to offer help directly to those who need it because of an organisation which understands the complexities of humanitarian aid. It has been developed under the political leadership of Deputy Carolyn Labey and under the dynamic and rigorous direction of Mr Boas.