The Red Cross is responding to meet the growing humanitarian needs in Ukraine and neighbouring countries

Since the conflict in Ukraine began intensifying dramatically on February 24, 2022, each day brings new accounts of bomb attacks and shelling against civilians, forcing more than two million people – mostly women and children - to flee to neighbouring countries. Countless more have been displaced internally.
Masked Red Cross members behind tables full of food and supplies
Millions of people are stranded in dire conditions across Ukraine, struggling to access food, water, electricity, medication, childcare supplies, and other basic necessities. Those who are fleeing - sometimes in pajamas - take whatever they can carry. Their needs, too, are immense.

Faced with the largest humanitarian crisis Europe has seen in recent years, countries and international organizations are doing everything they can to help the people affected by the conflict.

Red Cross National Societies in the region are working side-by-side to provide life-saving aid to those affected by the conflict

People in Red Cross jackets carrying cases of water bottles, distributing food to people sheltered at the metro stations during the shelling.
Distributing food and basic necessities to people sheltered at the metro stations during the shelling. Credit: Maksym Trebukhov for / Ukrainian Red Cross Society
The Ukrainian Red Cross Society has seen volunteer sign-ups soar since the escalation of the conflict, a much-needed support to continue responding to the ever-growing humanitarian needs in the country.

Thanks to their work and the help of the International Red Cross and local communities, people in shelters or on the move receive food, water, and other basic necessities, while hospitals receive critical supplies like insulin.

The Ukrainian Red Cross Society is also helping to relocate people to safer areas and has trained emergency response teams who are assisting firefighters, and medical and civil protection teams in responding to damage to homes and infrastructure.

Red Cross and Red Crescent National Societies in the region are helping those moving across borders, offering them temporary shelter, food, water, information, medical and psychosocial care, as well as SIM cards for staying in contact with their families.

Teams with the Polish Red Cross have been able to enter Ukraine to provide support to those lining up to cross the Ukrainian-Polish border. Several National Societies have also mobilized vital humanitarian relief items to be sent to Ukraine.

Words from the field: Entering a reception centre in Záhony, Hungary

Jennifer Vibert, Senior Manager, Emergency Operations with the Canadian Red Cross is currently the Operations Manager for the response based in Hungary with the International Federation Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC). She tells us what she saw in the town of Záhony, near the borders of Slovakia and Ukraine.

“Upon their arrival at the border, people coming from Ukraine are registered with the Hungarian border authorities then travel on, either to their planned destinations or to reception centres. One of the centres at the border crossing of Záhony is in a school. The students and teachers have returned to online learning to allow the people who have been displaced to stay there. In addition, some of the teachers who have Ukrainian heritage are teaching all day and then volunteering at the centre all night. The Hungarian Red Cross runs the health post there, which provides health services to those arriving.”

Kathy Mueller, Senior Communications Advisor with the Canadian Red Cross, was also in Záhony to support people fleeing the conflict. See her video update here:

Canadian Red Cross is supporting those affected by the conflict in Ukraine

Prior to the recent escalation of violence, the Canadian Red Cross contributed to Ukrainian Red Cross Society’s preparedness efforts including support for personnel, equipment, and training to help strengthen their capacity to scale up to meet arising humanitarian needs in multiple regions across the country.

Thanks to the generosity of people living in Canada who have donated to the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal and to the federal government of Canada, which is matching individual donations up to $30 million, the Canadian Red Cross has committed $45 million to the International Red Cross response.

This will help support immediate and ongoing relief efforts and other critical humanitarian activities as needs of the people affected by the conflict in Ukraine arise in the weeks, and months ahead. In addition, Canadian Red Cross has mobilized several highly trained humanitarian experts and sent emergency relief items to the region, such as blankets, tarps and cooking supplies.

By using the power of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement, the Canadian Red Cross’ Restoring Family Links Program can also help people in Canada re-establish contact with family members affected by armed conflict or other humanitarian crisis.

Canadians wishing to help are encouraged to make a financial donation to the Ukraine Humanitarian Crisis Appeal online or by calling 1-800-418-1111. People looking for family and loved-ones in the affected area can contact their local Canadian Red Cross office or visit us online at

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