What is happening in Ukraine?
On February 24, 2022, Russia launched a military operation in Ukraine.
Nearly 10 million people have already fled Ukraine to other countries – that’s almost a quarter of Ukraine’s entire population.
6.5 million people are now estimated to be displaced within Ukraine. In addition, more than 12 million people are thought to be cut off in places most ravaged by the conflict. Many are unable to leave because of damage to infrastructure, lack of resources, and the increased security risk.
The situation is developing rapidly, and the death toll is rising. This latest escalation in military action comes after eight years of ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine.
ShelterBox is responding to the Ukraine crisis.
5 things you should know about the crisis in Ukraine
1. Millions of people in eastern Ukraine have been severely affected by an ongoing conflict that began in 2014 when Crimea was annexed from Ukraine.
2. Before the recent escalation in conflict, the UN estimated that 2.9 million people in Ukraine were already in need of humanitarian assistance.
3. According to the UN Refugee Agency, before the latest increase in violence, nearly 1.5 million people were internally displacedwithin Ukraine, with half being over the age of 60 – making it one of the ‘oldest’ crises in the world.
4. Since 2014, Ukraine has been the target of multiple cyber-attacks, some resulting in devastating power blackouts affecting thousands of people.
5. Winter temperatures fall as low as -8 °C in Ukraine, causing even more challenges for people caught up in the conflict.
We are deeply concerned for families in Ukraine fleeing their homes in below freezing temperatures. That is why we stand with the UN in calling for peace and the protection of civilians affected by the crisis in Ukraine and critical basic infrastructure and services.
There are several ways you can help people affected by the Ukraine crisis.
1. Donate to the ShelterBox Australia Ukraine appeal
2. Read about what’s happening in Ukraine
3. Raise awareness on social media or by talking about the crisis with your friends and family
4. Stand with people fleeing their homes in Ukraine and beyond. Learn about some of the world’s hidden crises and share it with your network.
We’re not accepting the donation of clothing or other items for people affected by the crisis in Ukraine.
All the life-saving tools and equipment we provide are sourced from trusted suppliers and go through rigorous testing to ensure that they can survive in the extreme environments that we work in.
It’s also important that the aid we distribute is standardised. Doing so ensures that families receive aid of the same quality and value.
There are also many import restrictions in place that govern what we can and can’t bring into a country.
Given the scale of the situation in and around Ukraine there are many people that wish to help. There is a real concern that donated items may strain the logistical journey of tried and tested aid items.
The best way to support families right now is to make a donation to our Ukraine appeal.
The recent escalation of conflict is increasing existing humanitarian needs in the country.
In recent days, thousands of homes have been damaged or destroyed in Ukraine. Innocent civilians are being killed, families and lives are being torn apart.
Moreover, many people are fleeing their homes to seek safety, with the UN predicting as many as 4 million refugees.
The UN is also reporting that the Ukraine crisis is the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since the second World War.
Ukraine is home to some of the richest soils in Europe. It is famous for its fields of wheat, barley, oats, corn and other grains.
In fact, Russia and Ukraine export about a quarter of the world’s wheat and half of its sunflower products.
The conflict could send global food prices soaring. This is particularly concerning for some of the countries we’re working in, like Yemen and Syria who are already facing high levels of food insecurity.
HOW IS SHELTERBOX HELPING?
ShelterBox is responding to the Ukraine crisis. Our team is working in Moldova and coordinating with partners in Poland as we work to get aid into Ukraine and look at which countries require most support for their humanitarian response. Our team has been visiting collective centres and conducting needs assessments at a reception centre in Moldova not far from the border with Ukraine, where many refugees have been arriving.
We will be working on three projects:
1. Working with our partner, People in Need, we’re sending thousands of mattresses for collective centres like schools and churches in Lviv, Ukraine. This will offer people somewhere to sleep and keep warm at night.
2. We’re preparing shelter kits with tools and rope, high thermal blankets, hygiene kits, solar lights and water carriers to help people survive in buildings damaged by the conflict.
3. We’ll be supporting refugees in neighbouring countries with high priority items they can carry with them, like hygiene items and cash. Our teams are working with government representatives, Rotary and other humanitarian organisations in Moldova to draw up our plans.
Image: Alex Nicodim/Getty Images