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URGENT: Help deliver aid for families facing crisis in Ukraine and other emergencies around the world…

Conflict in Ukraine

STATUS
Active Emergency (Photo: Eric Bouvet/VII/Redux)
DATE
February 24, 2022
REGION
Ukraine, Eastern Europe
A man sweeps up rubble after shelling by Russian forces in Nivky, Kyiv, Ukraine

The Conflict

On the morning of February 24th, Russian forces launched a multi-pronged invasion by land, air, and sea on Ukraine. Now in the 7th month, the conflict has caused widespread destruction and killed more than 14,000 civilians, including children. Cities have been reduced to rubble, with virtually no part of the country untouched. In June, the World Health Organization reported hundreds of attacks on health care facilities and personnel. By August, 7 million people had fled, while nearly 7 million people were displaced within Ukraine, all searching for safety from the violence and destruction.

The overall humanitarian crisis also worsened, 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 back and forth across the border continues as the conflict shows no sign of ending as shifting battle lines continue to produce more deaths and destruction. Most of the people fleeing are women, children and the elderly as many of the men remain in 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.

At the start of the conflict, Americares quickly deployed an emergency response team to Poland to coordinate shipments of medicines and medical supplies into Ukraine and support local partners in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine offering health services to refugees. The team is also helping organizations provide mental health and psychosocial support to people caught in the crisis, in Ukraine and neighboring countries. 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.

Please continue to scroll down through different perspectives of this conflict to watch and read the personal stories from Valeriy and Oleisa, Volodomyr and his team of volunteers and many more as they share their ground view of war from up close.

Updated 9/22/2022

A man sweeps up rubble after shelling by Russian forces in Nivky, Kyiv, Ukraine March 23, 2022. (Photo: Eric Bouvet/VII/Redux)

Our Response

Since February 24, Americares has delivered more than 190 tons of medicine and medical supplies valued at over $35 million to health facilities and responders in Ukraine. These shipments include antibiotics, IV fluids, wound care supplies, labor and delivery supplies and trauma kits. In addition, Americares has awarded more than $1.5 million in grants to more than 50 organizations supporting health in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. For volunteer medical teams that took 19 trips to offer medical services in Poland, Romania and Ukraine, Americares provided more than $3 million in medicine and medical supplies.

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

Going forward, Americares will continue to support health facilities in Ukraine with funding and shipments of critical medicines and supplies. For organizations in Poland, Romania and Slovakia meeting the needs of refugees from Ukraine, Americares will continue its support and plans to provide training in mental health and psychosocial skills to increase the capacity of local organizations to meet the increasing demand for these services.

“Americares will continue to provide support to health services and organizations helping those impacted by the ongoing humanitarian crisis as we constantly evaluate short- and long-term needs of survivors.”

Adam Keehn, Americares director of complex emergenciesByline…

Personal Voices and Stories from the Midst of Conflict

Valeriy and Oleisa share their story of survival and their escape from a war zone into safety in Poland.

Watch this report on the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine direct from Volodomyr and 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

“In February, the bombs replaced our breakfast. It should have been a normal day for my family. But for breakfast, I didn’t have coffee with milk. In my mind it stayed the 24th of February for a long period. That doesn’t mean that we can’t comprehend this, but we need time to adapt and understand what to do next. And these simple things [support from the Coalition for Youth] give us time to understand how we can move forward.”

Marta, a university professor and administrator
Marta, fled Lutsk, Ukraine, with her two sons and is now a volunteer translator and Polish teacher at Coalition for Youth Foundation in Bialobrzegi, Poland, and a volunteer at the Warsaw Institute Foundation, a think tank.

“The babies were born in February. We were discharged from the hospital on March 15, and three or four days later, a building in my apartment block was shelled, so my husband took us to the railroad station. From Lviv, we came here, and a volunteer brought us everything we needed. Now I can say that people shouldn’t be scared or worried [to leave Ukraine]. There are organizations that can help you survive and settle in. We’re grateful that we can hide somewhere from the war.

Natalia
Nataliia fled Zelenodolsk, Ukraine, in March 2022 with 1-month-old twins. She receives support, including supplies for her babies, from Americares partner Coalition for Youth in Bialobrzegi, Poland.

“People have different reactions to stress—some shut down, some isolate themselves. It’s important to decrease the effects of PTSD and stop people from sinking deeper into their traumas.”

Yulia, a psychotherapist
Yulia fled Lutsk, Ukraine, with her 11-year-old son, in March 2022. In a program supported by Americares, Yulia provides psychotherapy to refugees at Salam Lab in Krakow and, via telephone, to women in Ukraine.

“I want to thank the Americares Foundation for their help during the hardest time for Ukraine.”

Oleksandr, founder, Rebuilding Ukraine Foundation
Oleksandr, founder, Rebuilding Ukraine Foundation, an Americares partner in Ukraine that receives shipments of Americares medicine and medical supplies and has distributed them to hospitals

We continue to deliver more medicine, medical supplies, emergency funding and relief items to the region. There is a critical need for medicine and medical supplies, including antibiotics, 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.

drone view of volunteer event with tents outside distribution center
Over 30 donors assemble 1,000 hygiene kits outside of Americares global distribution center to be distributed to those affected by the war in Ukraine. Hygiene kits contain several items including towels, shampoo, toothpaste, toothbrush, and more. The delivery of hygiene kits is crucial in how Americares responds and provides care to those affected by disasters around the world on June 9, 2022 (Photo/Mike Demas).

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 takes care of his wife, Olesia, who suffers from severe epilepsy and mobility issues. They are from Bucza, Ukraine
Valeriy and Olesia (Photo/Mike Demas)

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.

Valeriy presents 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
Valeriy presents all the medications he’s responsible for administering to his wife. (Photo/Mike Demas).

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.

Rita, from Odessa, Ukraine, poses for a photo at the Jewish Community Center with toys in the background in Krakow, Poland
Rita, from Odessa, (Photo/Mike Demas).

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.

*name changed

Alina poses for a photo with her son, Timofy, with his new stuffed bear on a bed in a hotel in Krakow, Poland
Alina with her son, Timofy, in a hotel in Krakow, Poland (Photo/Mike Demas).

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 (middle) poses for a photo with Olena (left) and Oleg (right), her mother-in-law and father-in-law, in a hotel in Krakow, Poland where she and her family are receiving displaced person’s assistance.
Alina (middle) sits with Olena (left) and Oleg (right), her mother-in-law and father-in-law, in a hotel in Krakow, Poland where she and her family are receiving displaced person’s assistance (Photo/Mike Demas).

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.

Timofy sleeps on a bed with his bear in a hotel in Krakow, Poland
Timofy sleeps with his Bear (Photo/Mike Demas).

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.

David and Raisa are brother and sister. This was their 2nd evacuation in their lifetimes, the first was during the nuclear event at the Chernobyl plant in 1986.
David and Raisa are brother and sister. (Photo/Mike Demas).

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…

An Americares relief worker confers with 3 local workers in a warehouse handling shipments of relief supplies
In a warehouse near Krakow, Poland, Americares, working alongside our local partner the Human Milk Bank Foundation (Fundacji Bank Mleka Kobiecego) and The Polish Government Strategic Reserve Agency (RARS), prepares Emergency Obstetric Sets (EOS) for use in immediate conflict zones in Ukraine by mothers giving birth outside health care facilities or in devastated hospitals, June 3, 2022. (Photo by Omar Marques).

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 in Jordan 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.


…offering comfort…

Two Ukranian refugees embrace
Two Ukrainian refugees embrace in Dorohusk, Poland at the border between Poland and Ukraine. March, 2022 (Photo/Tom Remp)

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...

Our team at work mapping access routes into Ukraine
The Americares Emergency Response team assesses a map of Ukraine and discusses potential points of distribution for medicines and medical supplies in Krakow, Poland, March 3, 2022. (Photo/Mike Demas).

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.

Our History

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.

Aid for Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis

$35M+

medicine and medical supplies delivered to health facilities in Ukraine

194

tons of medicine and relief supplies delivered to health facilities in Ukraine

$1.5M

in emergency grants to 53 local organizations

65

total partners in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine