Tensions mounted between the Russian and Ukrainian governments for years following the fall of the Soviet Union. But, in the latter half of 2021, Russia drew immediate international attention to the region when it built up a military presence along the Russia-Ukraine border. The aggressive action received immediate criticism from the international community, and on Feb. 24, 2022, the United Nations Security Council convened to discourage further conflict. Amid the meeting, Russia launched a full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Countries, international organizations and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) are providing aid to Ukraine in response to the invasion.
The Humanitarian Consequences
Since the invasion in February 2022, Ukraine has noted more than 1,500 casualties. As of March 11, 2022, more than 3 million refugees have fled to neighboring countries and experts predict that the conflict will have broader ramifications for international security. Russian military attacks crippled hospitals and residential areas, and against this backdrop of violence, Ukrainians both in and out of the country lack important resources. Vulnerable populations, including women, children and those below the poverty line, particularly need help as they lack basic medical services and necessities like food, water and shelter.
3 Organizations Providing Aid to Ukraine
Amid the protests and violence, several countries and organizations expressed their support for the Ukrainian people by providing aid to Ukraine.
- CARE. As an international humanitarian organization founded in 1945 to fight global poverty, CARE provides aid to Ukraine and other conflict-ridden countries. Following the crisis in Ukraine, the organization began initiatives to assist the people most in need, especially women, children and the elderly. The organization “aims to reach 4 million people” through its Ukraine Crisis Fund and partnership with fellow organization People in Need to “distribute urgently needed emergency supplies such as food, water, hygiene kits and cash to cover daily needs.” On March 3, 2022, these necessities arrived in Lviv, Ukraine, through trucks filled with “food, diapers and sleeping bags.” In the meantime, People in Need is handing out food in heated tents to civilians along the Slovak-Ukrainian border.
- Project HOPE. This NGO tackles the need for medical supplies and mental health resources. Response teams on the ground coordinate with local groups to assist refugees and provide assistance to hospitals in Ukraine. On March 14, 2022, Project HOPE shipped “22 pallets of antibiotics and surgical supplies to Lviv.” The organization is also helping hospitals maintain some normal functions while assisting displaced people with otherwise limited access to health care services. Additionally, Project HOPE provided mental health resources to refugees in Romania by supporting local NGOs, noting that “mental health needs are the most urgent health concerns for refugees at this time” as Ukrainians enter countries where they have no social network or support system.
- Ukraine Humanitarian Fund. The United Nations Emergency Relief Coordinator developed the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund to direct money toward relevant, effective organizations, including the Red Cross, vetted international and national NGOs and United Nations agencies. The fund lets individuals indirectly allocate aid to Ukraine. Though the pooled fund underwent establishment in 2019, the effort is more important than before as ReliefWeb notes that, since Feb. 24, 2022, “Ukraine’s security and humanitarian situation is deteriorating rapidly.” The fund provides the necessary money for “health care, food aid, clean water, shelter and other humanitarian assistance” throughout Ukraine. As the crisis worsens, the United Nations can ensure funding “reaches the people most in need when they need it.” Like CARE and Project HOPE, this fund accepts donations straight from ordinary citizens to achieve humanitarian objectives.
Though it may seem difficult to imagine an end to the years-long conflict, individuals, organizations and countries across the world are directing their attention to hurt and displaced Ukrainian populations and there are ways for ordinary citizens to help. As the crisis unfolds, it is more important than ever for ongoing relief efforts to both receive and provide aid to Ukraine to protect vulnerable populations.
– Lauren Sung