On the morning of February 24th, Russian forces launched a multi-pronged invasion by land, air, and sea on Ukraine. With the conflict grinding onward, now in its sixth month, there has been wide spread destruction, particularly in civilian areas, and many thousands of casualties including families and children as hundreds of thousands of people flee from the fighting. Fierce fighting has focused around several of Ukraine’s cities as the conflict shifts almost entirely to the East, putting more and more civilians in danger with large areas of cities reduced to rubble by extreme and indiscriminate bombardment. People are fleeing eastern Ukraine to escape major battles in the Donbas region as the Russian offensive in the East intensifies, and Russian forces now occupy approximately 20% of Ukraine territory, expanding their position in the East while continuing random and deadly bombardment of cities across Ukraine. The European Union member states and other countries continue to mobilize more humanitarian aid to assist the flood of refugees. An agreement has also been reached to allow shipments of Ukrainian grain to depart in response to a growing global food crisis. Ukraine has historically been a major supplier in the global food market.
Watch the report on the emergency supplies to help mothers forced by the conflict to give birth outside of traditional health care settings. Just click on the arrow.
Reports indicate that tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers have died in the fighting as more civilian areas including many health, transportation and educational facilities have come under attack. Virtually no community in Ukraine has been left untouched by the war. Heavy shelling of eastern and south-eastern areas continues to target civilian infrastructure and hinder access to essential services for millions of Ukrainians. The World Health Organization has verified more than 200 attacks on health care and facilities thus far, resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries to patients and staff and creating the conditions that could lead to a regional public health crisis. The overall humanitarian crisis also worsened, with millions of refugees now having fled Ukraine and with many more internally displaced persons, the United Nations reported, with more than half of the refugees crossing into Poland where an Americares Ukraine Response Team is based. The flow of refugees moving over the border continues as the conflict shows no sign of ending. Most of the people fleeing are women, children and the elderly as many of the men remain in Ukraine.
Americares has Emergency Response Teams on the ground in Poland, meeting the health needs and coordinating shipments of medicine and supplies for Ukraine. Americares response is focused on delivering medicine and medical supplies, supporting health services and organizations providing mental health and psychosocial support for refugees and survivors who have experienced trauma.Addressing mental health issues, especially among children, remains a growing need across the country with some organizations fearing that mental health services will be in high demand for at least five years after the war ends.
A man sweeps up rubble after shelling by Russian forces in Nivky, Kyiv, Ukraine March 23, 2022. (Photo: Eric Bouvet/VII/Redux)
Americares Ukraine response is currently supporting over 50 partner organizations across four countries including Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. Americares is helping these organizations meet the health needs of children and adults affected by the crisis through donations of medicines, medical supplies and emergency funding. Our teams have expertise in coordinating large-scale shipments of medicine and relief supplies in crisis situations.Our immediate response is focused on the delivery of critically needed medicine and supplies. To date, Americares has shipped or delivered more than 158 tons of medicine and relief supplies to multiple partners responding in Ukraine and still more shipments are underway or planned. We had made the commitment to deliver 100 tons of medical aid to Ukraine within 90 days of the start of the invasion, and that goal was achieved and surpassed.
Americares is also providing emergency funding to local organizations supporting children and adults caught in the crisis in Poland, Ukraine and Romania. Thus far, emergency grants for 39 organizations working in Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia and Romania have been awarded totaling more than $1.2 million. The funds will be used to support psychosocial services, train staff in crisis counseling and trauma-focused cognitive behavioral therapy, hire Ukrainian-speaking staff to connect refugees with educational resources and facilitate the last-mile delivery of medicines and medical supplies to partners in Ukraine, among other activities. The grants also include one month of funding for a specialty medical team providing care to pregnant women and children fleeing to Romania.
At the same time, Americares Medical Outreach Program has supported 12 volunteer medical teams traveling to Poland, Romania and Ukraine, with nearly $2 million worth of donated medicines and medical products to ensure they have the supplies they need to treat survivors.
One of the medical teams reports that the medications provided by Americares for their team were used to fill in the gap in the Ukrainian medical supply chain system. Due to the war, all pharmacies in the affected regions in the east and north east of Ukraine were closed or did not have supplies. Most people with chronic diseases like diabetes or thyroid disorders were without their medications for almost two months. The team provided clinics, bomb shelters and community shelters with medications that were distributed to patients who needed them. These medications were life-saving for many Ukrainians.
“I met a lady in Chernihiv, Ukraine who told me that her mother ran out of her glaucoma medication as the supplies in the pharmacies were gone. She was so concerned that she would completely lose her vision that she could not sleep at night. Once we were able to give her the glaucoma medication, she became calm and was able to perform her daily activities. The daughter said that her mother was like a new person!!!”
Esli Gollapalli, DO
Watch this report on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine direct from Volodomyrand his team of volunteers working 24/7 to get donated medicines and medical supplies into Ukraine. When asked what his team does when they get tired, he replies, “Angels never sleep.”Click on video below.
Emergency response in the first 100 days…
Supporting services for refugees…
…a safe space for families fleeing conflict...
…a space where children can play.
We continue to deliver more medicine, medical supplies, emergency funding and relief items to the region. There is a critical need right now for medicine and medical supplies, including antibiotics, insulin, IV fluids, wound care supplies, labor and delivery supplies and trauma kits. Americares is prepared to meet to those needs—and more.
Voices from Ukraine: “I Was Shouting Everywhere, ‘We Need Medicine!’”
Nezabutni is a nonprofit organization that provides medicine and other support to elderly people, including those with dementia, in Ukraine. When medicine for dementia was impossible to find in the country at the start of the war, Americares provided Nezabutni with $2.3 million in medicine and supplies, which the organization distributed to hospitals and health centers, including a hospital for the elderly in Kyiv, where Dr. Viktor Kholin is director. Since the war began, the hospital has opened its doors to a wider patient population, including injured soldiers, tripling the number of patients they see, from 300 to 1,000 each month.
In April, Americares interviewed Dr. Kholin and Irina Shevchenko, founder and director of Nezabutni.
Dr. Kholin: Elderly people are a very unprotected part of our society, because while children have parents, very often elderly people have no relatives or carers; they may only have neighbors who can help them. Stress is a big problem because a patient who was in stable condition is unstable during war, and we have a big amount of psychosis. When people hear the blasts, it’s terrible. It’s a very awful situation.
Irina: I hear from all of the patients, without exception, that their state worsened [when Russia invaded]. Some started to be more aggressive, or, for the first time, forgot their names or couldn’t recognize their relatives.
Dr. Kholin: Right now [in April 2022], in Kyiv, almost 80 percent of pharmacies are closed, and patients can’t get any drugs, and we have huge lines for pharmacies. I have spent three hours in line trying to buy something.
Irina: Our volunteers were searching all over Ukraine for medications, and when I left Ukraine, my main task was to find medications. I was shouting everywhere, “We need medicine!” And then I received the email from Dmitriy Popov, associate director, Eurasia partnerships, at Americares. I have worked with Dr. Kholin for a long time, and now we are all working together.
Dr. Kholin: Every patient is very grateful that they have access to medication. It’s very important that patients and relatives can get this medication free of charge. Thank you very much for your help. It’s really important for us right now.
Americares continues to provide Nezabutni with medicine and supplies and power generators for four gerontology centers in Ukraine, that together serve 2,000 patients, providing further security for elderly people caught in the crisis.
…volunteers at work early in the supply chain.
Every family has their own story…
…Valeriy and Olesia
Valeriy takes care of his wife, Olesia, who suffers from severe epilepsy and mobility issues. They are from Bucza, Ukraine, and spent 20 days in a war zone after the war started. Nobody knows how Olesia got her condition. She was walking to work one day, slipped on some ice, and fell down. When she got to work, she felt fatigued and lost consciousness. Afterward, she was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Valeriy manages all the medications he’s responsible for administering to his wife. He keeps a meticulous notebook of her blood pressure readings, which he logs each day.
They currently stay at a hotel, with their accommodations provided for by the Jewish Community Center, Krakow. Americares awarded JCC Krakow a grant to support programs providing assistance to Ukrainian refugees.
…Rita from Odessa
Rita, from Odessa, Ukraine, poses for a photo at the Jewish Community Center in Krakow, Poland where she and her family are receiving displaced person’s assistance.
In Odessa, Rita was a Web Designer and architect. When the war started, she traveled to Krakow from Ukraine by car in what turned out to be a four-day-long journey with her baby daughter. They traveled, ate, and slept in the back seat of their car for the duration of their journey.
When Rita arrived to Poland, she was able to become fully employed by the Jewish Community Center, Krakow, where she helps manage the safe space for women and children, a space she utilizes herself with her daughter.
…Alina and Timofy
Alina rests with her son, Timofy, in a hotel in Krakow, Poland where she and her family are receiving displaced person’s assistance.
Alina left Ukraine, where she had just finished studying dermatology, to seek refuge in Poland. Her husband, who is also a doctor, was not allowed to leave the country. A friend of hers made a similar journey weeks prior and disappeared, and, while she is unsure of what has happened to her friend, she suspects that she has been trafficked. In order to avoid a similar fate, she called on her mother-in-law and father-in-law, Olena and Oleg, to come meet her in Poland. The family awaits the processing of the necessary paperwork so that they can travel to Israel together.
Alina and her baby son Timofy are safe and sound in Krakow, currently staying in a hotel room provided to them by the Jewish Community Center of Krakow.
Americares awarded JCC Krakow a grant to support programs providing assistance to Ukrainian refugees, including temporary accommodation, a safe space for mothers and children, and other programs, on April 5, 2022.
…Timofy and his Bear
Timofy sleeps on a bed in a hotel in Krakow, Poland where he and his family are receiving displaced person’s assistance.
…David and Raisa
David and Raisa are brother and sister. They lived in a new city outside of Chernobyl, which was still under a lot of new construction. They lived in their town for weeks while the war raged on around them. The local government issued an evacuation order, and they both only took one small bag with them as they left their home.
This was their 2nd evacuation in their lifetimes, the first was during the nuclear event at the Chernobyl plant in 1986. David and Raisa currently stay at a hotel, with their accommodations provided for by the Jewish Community Center, Krakow. Both are headed to stay with family in Germany for the short-term future. They are still planning on returning to Ukraine one day.
Delivering the critical supplies…
Americares has extensive experience providing mental health and psychosocial support to refugees—and Americares will make mental health support available in this crisis as well. We know from our work inJordan with Syrian refugees and in Colombia with Venezuelan migrants that mental health support is so critical for this population, whose lives changed so drastically in days. Americares plans to provide mental health and psychosocial support training, in topics such as psychological first aid and trauma-informed care, to staff of local organizations in Poland and Ukraine who are assisting refugees and internally displaced populations. The trainings will provide support to staff experiencing compassion fatigue and vicarious trauma.
Americares had been monitoring the situation in Ukraine for months prior to the invasion. We are working closely with the World Health Organization, regional health authorities, and international, national and local response organizations in Ukraine and neighboring countries to ensure a coordinated response to the crisis.
…planning the route to health...
Reports from WHO officials in Ukraine confirm the urgent need for medicines, medical supplies, and medical professionals with a focus on trauma and primary care services. Countries bordering Ukraine (Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Moldova) enacted states of emergency early in the conflict and are accepting families fleeing from Ukraine and working to establish humanitarian corridors for aid. And humanitarian actors at large are responding to a crisis with no immediate end in sight.
…and meeting the refugees with what they may need.
Americares has a long history of supporting health services for refugees and migrants. In the past 10 years alone, Americares has provided more than $70 million in aid to support health care for refugees and migrants in over a dozen countries including supporting health services for families fleeing the humanitarian crises in Syria and Venezuela. And we have worked in Eastern Europe for decades, delivering more than $1 billion in aid to the region, including $140 million in medicine and supplies for Ukraine. We also donate medicines and medical supplies to U.S.-based medical professionals traveling to Ukraine to provide care for patients in need.
Americares has over 40 years of experience responding to emergencies, including conflicts that lead to large-scale displacements. We respond to more than 30 natural disasters and humanitarian crises worldwide each year, establish long-term recovery projects and brings disaster preparedness programs to communities vulnerable to disasters.
Generous donors make all our achievements possible. We are able to respond to more disasters, expand our health programs and save more lives because of the individuals, foundations and corporations that trust Americares to improve the lives of people in the United States and around the world.
More than 98% of our resources support health programs.
Americares efficiency with your charitable dollar is one reason that we’re trusted by donors and consistently receive high marks from charity evaluators.