On the morning of February 24th, 2022, Russian forces launched a multi-pronged invasion by land, air, and sea on Ukraine.
The deadly conflict continues unabated. Even as Ukrainian forces made significant ground gains in recent months, strikes by Russia against Ukraine on civilian targets exacerbated concern for humanitarian needs in the midst of winter. Concern also escalated for the global food crisis caused by the war as the one-year mark of the invasion of Russia in Ukraine approaches next month. New waves of attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure have left millions without electricity, also affecting access to water and heating in Ukraine during winter weather. Several regions were completely disconnected from electricity, and the entirety of Kyiv – with a population of around 3 million – was left without water access for several days due to Russian strikes. Many months of war have caused widespread destruction and killed thousands of civilians, including many 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 healthcare facilities and personnel. By August, 7 million people affected by the war had fled Ukraine, while nearly 7 million people were displaced within Ukraine, all searching for safety from the violence and destruction.
Watch the video report from Poland on the programs now helping people affected by the war deal with the trauma of violence and loss. Just click on the arrow.
Americares is meeting the health needs of children and adults in Ukraine and in surrounding countries affected by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Please continue to scroll down through our response and the different perspectives of this conflict to watch, and read the personal stories from Valeriy and Oleisa, Volodomyrand his team of volunteers and many more as they share their ground view of war from up close.
An injured man is helped over a river where the Irpin bridge used to be. March 7, 2022. (Photo: Eric Bouvet/VII/Redux)
At the start of the war, 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 people fleeing the hostilities. The team is also helping organizations provide mental health and psychosocial support to people caught in the battle, 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.The winter season creates more health challenges for people in Ukraine as damaged infrastructure limits access to power, heat, water and health care.
Since February 24, 2022, Americares has delivered more than 280 tons of medicine and medical supplies valued at over $54 million to health facilities and responders in Ukraine and more shipments are planned. These shipments include antibiotics, IV fluids, wound care supplies, labor and delivery supplies and trauma kits. In addition, Americares has awarded more than $3 million in grants to more than 51 organizations supporting health in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine. The funds are being used for multiple projects. Our grants include funding for generators for 25 health facilities in Ukraine to ensure they can operate during power cuts.
The war has affected everyone in Ukraine, but it is particularly cruel to pregnant women. The health effects on pregnant women are stark. Since the beginning of the war, a regional hospital in western Ukraine has seen a significant increase in premature births, from 3.56 percent of all births before the war to 13 percent in the first months after the war began in February. Read a story about Americares efforts to meet this challenge.
War and displacement are difficult for healthy people but can be doubly challenging for those who suffer from chronic illness such as diabetes. Since the start of the war, treatments for low blood sugar have been in short supply in Ukraine, and critical medicines for diabetes have been nearly impossible to find. Read how we are helping hospitals address this health crisis.
At the same time, Americares Medical Outreach program has supported trips by 20 volunteer medical teams to Poland, Romania and Ukraine, with more than $3 million worth of donated medicines and medical products.
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 northeast 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 growing demand for these services.
To date, this funding for mental health and psychosocial services has supported more than 13,800 individual crisis intervention sessions for refugees needing emergency support. With Americares support, our partners have also trained more than 1,100 frontline clinicians in war crisis cognitive behavioral therapy and nearly 1,000 practitioners in recovery techniques for children experiencing war-related trauma. Americares mental health and psychosocial staff is also providing daily support and technical assistance to local organizations in Poland and Ukraine.
“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…
Keeping the Power On
As winter and damage to infrastructure from the war combine to limit health care delivery, Americares is providing generators to keep the health facilities functioning. Read more of this story.
Not all solutions to winter are technical. We work to meet the needs as the occur.
Personal Voices and Stories from the Midst of War
Valeriy and Oleisa share their story of survival and their escape from a war zone into safety in Poland. Click on the video below.
Watch this report on the humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion of 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…
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.
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 is making mental health support available in this humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion 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 more 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 ongoing 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 war and are accepting families fleeing from Ukraine and establishing humanitarian corridors for aid. And humanitarian actors at large are responding to a war with no immediate end in sight.
Longer term, we plan to support people affected by the war with health programming to prevent the spread of COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, help manage chronic disease and increase access to women’s and children’s health services.
Americares has a long history of supporting clinical 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. Since 1986, Americares has provided nearly $2 billion in aid to Eastern Europe, including nearly $179 million in aid to Ukraine, which began in 1992. 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 Response
medicine and medical supplies delivered to health facilities in Ukraine
tons of medicine and relief supplies delivered to health facilities in Ukraine
in emergency grants to more than 40 local organizations
total partners in Poland, Romania, Slovakia and Ukraine
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.