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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. With the conflict entering its fourth month, there are many reports of wide spread destruction, particularly in civilian areas, many thousands of casualties including families and children as population movements of hundreds of thousands of people flee towards the west and away from fighting. Russian forces have targeted major cities including Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital with deadly bomb and missile strikes. 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. As Russian troops withdrew from northern Ukraine, a trail of destruction and death emerged. People are fleeing eastern Ukraine to escape major battles in the Donbas region as the Russian offensive in the East intensifies. The European Union member states and other countries continue to mobilize more humanitarian aid to assist the flood of refugees. Negotiations to establish safe humanitarian corridors for civilians continue to be a need and a challenge.

Be sure to watch a 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 the arrow to hear Volodomyr’s story.

Latest reports indicate that tens of thousands of civilians and soldiers have died in the fighting as more civilian areas including dozens of health, transportation and educational facilities have come under attack. Virtually no community in Ukraine has been left untouched by the war. The World Health Organization has verified over 100 attacks on health facilities thus far, resulting in hundreds of deaths and injuries to patients and staff. The overall humanitarian crisis also worsened, with more than 6.7 million refugees now having fled Ukraine and with over 8 million 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. Up to 200,000 people every day have fled, and there is no end to the conflict in sight. Most of the people fleeing are women, children and the elderly as many of the younger 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 providing mental health and psychosocial support for refugees and survivors who have experienced trauma.

Updated 5/27/2022

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

Our Response

Americares emergency response teams in Poland are supporting health services for families affected by the escalating humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. The teams have expertise in coordinating large-scale shipments of medicine and relief supplies and mobilizing emergency medical teams 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 110 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 has been 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 37 organizations operating in Ukraine, Poland, Slovakia and Romania have been awarded totaling more than $1 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.

Supporting services for refugees

…a safe space for families fleeing conflict...

A young Ukrainian boy greets his father in a safe space in Krakow
A young Ukrainian boy greets his father at a designated safe space operated by the Jewish Community Center of Krakow for displaced children and mothers. It is one of the many programs they now offer to support the refugee population in the city. Americares provided a flash grant to JCC Krakow to support its programs that benefit Ukrainian refugees, such as this one (Photo/ Mike Demas).

…a space where children can play.

A mother and her children play together in a safe space operated by the Jewish Community Center of Krakow
A mother and her children play together in a safe space operated by the Jewish Community Center of Krakow for displaced children and mothers. (Photo/ Mike Demas).

We are prepared to deliver more medicine, medical supplies, emergency funding and relief items to the region and have activated our roster of staff and volunteer medical professionals in the event they are needed to provide surge support in neighboring countries. Staffed by physicians, nurses and other medical professionals, our medical teams provide primary care services, emergency treatment for injuries and as well as mental health and psychosocial support services to help survivors cope with stress and trauma. 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.

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.

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…

A team loading emergency shipment at the border
A team from a local partner prepare a shipment of over 11 tons of medical supplies to transit across the Polish/Ukrainian border and to Americares partners in Ukraine. on Thursday, March 24 (Photo/Mike Demas)

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 has been monitoring the situation in Ukraine for months. 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).

Preliminary reports from WHO officials in Ukraine confirmed 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) have enacted states of emergency and are accepting families fleeing from Ukraine and working to establish humanitarian corridors for aid. And humanitarian actors at large are preparing for a response with no immediate end in sight.

…and meeting the refugees with what they may need.

Tents on the Poland/Ukraine border offer services and supplies
The border crossing at Medyka, Poland where humanitarian assistance is being delivered to Ukrainian refugees. Lots of vehicles backlogged from the Polish side trying to get into Ukraine. Several types of assistance at the border including meals, temp shelter, clothes, etc., March 19, 2022. (Photo/Mike Demas)

Our History

Americares has a long history of providing support to refugees and migrants, 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 $120 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.

Since the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, the government of Ukraine reported some 1.5 million internally displaced persons. As of early February, UN OCHA reported some 2.9 million people were in need of humanitarian assistance. The UNHCR, among other humanitarian actors, expects numbers to rise rapidly as the Russian invasion continues. A recent polio outbreak in Western Ukraine, alongside the health impacts of COVID-19, are compounding challenges for an already fragile healthcare system.

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.