Conflict in Ukraine could have dire humanitarian consequences

Topics: Worldwide, Emergencies and Disasters Worldwide
February 24, 2022

Ukraine_redcross_thumbnail-(1).jpgPeople living in Ukraine and near the line of contact have already endured almost eight years of conflict, and continue to experience violence, trauma, and economic hardship. The intensified fighting in recent days has once again brought upheaval, uncertainty, loss, and fear to their daily lives. We are already seeing the immediate consequences for civilians, with the latest escalation triggering new displacement. 

The conflict threatens to bring a halt to key essential services, and hundreds of thousands of people living in affected areas  are regularly suffering from disrupted access to food, water, and electricity. This has been their daily reality for almost eight years.

In mid-February, at least two major pumping stations in Donetsk region, serving more than one million people and hospitals on either side of the line of contact, were left inoperable by the hostilities. Without urgent action, large-scale humanitarian implications are inevitable.

The human losses have been immense and are sure to increase with recent escalations. Over the course of the eight year conflict , thousands of people have been killed or injured. More than 800 people remain unaccounted for, with families left with no answers about their loved ones.

In addition to active conflict, mines and unexploded explosives constitute an additional layer of danger for civilians living close to the line of contact. Several hundred civilians, including children, have died or been injured this way since the beginning of the conflict, often while doing every-day tasks such as working in the field or playing in the yard. 

How the Red Cross is helping
The Red Cross Movement continues to respond to the humanitarian needs generated by the ongoing conflict.

The Ukrainian Red Cross Society is currently assisting those impacted with livelihoods support and helping them deal with psychological trauma, as well as operating mobile health teams and raising awareness of health risks in areas where healthcare is limited. This is in addition to the ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic, where the Red Cross continues to support prevention and vaccination campaigns.

In addition to responding to current needs, the Ukrainian Red Cross Society, with support from the Red Cross Movement, is scaling up preparedness efforts with the escalation of ongoing tensions and are ready to expand and adapt as new needs emerge. The Canadian Red Cross has contributed to these preparedness efforts, which includes support for personnel, equipment, and training. 

Working alongside the Ukrainian Red Cross, the international Red Cross is responding to the existing and growing humanitarian needs by delivering urgent assistance including food, fuel for heating, medical supplies, and support for housing. International aid is also being mobilized to support Ukrainian Red Cross Society programs and operations in the areas of COVID-19 and livelihoods.

Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in the region are scaling-up preparedness and response efforts to assist those moving across borders. This includes the Russian Red Cross who are working to deliver relief items including hygiene kits, personal protective equipment, cloths and drinking water.

The Canadian Red Cross is supporting preparedness and response efforts, and remains in close contact with Red Cross Red Crescent Movement partners on how we can best support those affected in Ukraine and surrounding countries. 

How you can help
Canadians wishing to help are encouraged to donate to the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal online or by calling 1-800-418-1111.

Money raised will enable the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to respond to humanitarian needs generated by almost eight years of conflict, as well as preparedness and response efforts due to heightened tensions in Ukraine. The support could include preparedness, immediate and ongoing relief efforts, long-term recovery, resiliency, and other critical humanitarian activities as needs arise, both in Ukraine and surrounding countries, including supporting populations displaced.