Darla is a student and sports master Fencer who walked from Livov, Ukraine. She sits at the temporary refugee aid station by the border crossing in Medyka, Eastern Poland (Photo: DEC)
It was perhaps inevitable that as the conflict in Ukraine stretches into its fourth deadly month that our collective attention would wane, with a tendency from us all to become numb to the repeated exposure to such grim news and our sense that this conflict is far from over, with only so much we can do to help.
However, we also know that many readers of NationalWorld.com and so many others all over the UK retain a profound concern for millions of Ukrainians whose lives are threatened by this violence and are determined to do what they can to help make a difference.
Nowhere can this be seen more clearly than in the incredible public response to the Disasters Emergency Committee’s humanitarian appeal for Ukraine. In just over three months, more than £350 million has now been donated to the Appeal – including a world record for the £60 million received online in the first week after launch back in March.
This incredible show of faith placed in our humanitarian coalition brings with it a huge responsibility to effectively deliver a vast and complex response in the coming months and years ahead as the needs of people affected by the conflict change.
That work is well underway with a huge range of responses now being mounted by the 13 of DEC’s 15 member charities both in Ukraine and across its borders in Poland, Hungary, Romania and Moldova.
One of the great strengths of the DEC’s long standing coalition is the shared expertise and flexible funding that can allow our member charities to adapt the way they work alongside local community organisations to provide what is needed, where and when it’s most needed.
How your money is used in Ukraine
As hospitals and the wider health service in Ukraine are overwhelmed, more than a quarter of funds released in this early part of the response will be spent on frontline health support, to supply trauma and first aid kits, surgical training, a range of medicines and vital life-saving equipment such as incubators and oxygen compressors.
One of the most effective and dignified ways to support families on the move is to provide direct cash support so they can decide themselves what best meets their immediate needs so nearly a quarter of the early funding will be used in this way through a variety of secure approaches such as pre-paid cards or digital transfers.
Millions are without a reliable supply of clean water and need help with sanitation and hygiene - more vulnerable people need a range of additional support to ensure their safety. A network of child protection hubs have been set up at border sites and along transit routes specifically to help women and children with a strong emphasis on psychological support to help them cope with the trauma of what they’ve been through.
Food production has been decimated, farming has ground to a halt in many areas and of course supply chains have been severely disrupted. It’s estimated that 1.8 million children under five in Ukraine already need nutrition support so a key priority is to provide families directly with staple foods – sugar, salt, rice, oatmeal, canned fish – or provide them with hot meals or supermarket vouchers.
None of this would be possible without the incredible support of so many individuals, businesses and institutions across the country who’ve responded so generously to the Appeal.
Crises around the world still need our support
We are hugely grateful for the support, while DEC members are also continuing to support many millions more people who are still struggling to survive in other humanitarian crises around the world, mostly away from our attention. Already reeling from the health and economic impacts of Covid-19 and the increasing threat of the climate emergency, the wider food shortages and economic slowdown now being driven by the ongoing Ukraine crisis are pushing millions more people into extreme hunger.
Our members are still working with urgency in Afghanistan to help feed millions of children and their families who are at risk of starvation following the unprecedented economic collapse that swept the country following the regime change last summer.
Our own lived experiences through the Covid-19 pandemic and our growing realisation of the threat posed by the climate emergency is building a greater understanding of our global vulnerability and interdependence.
These ‘3 Cs’ – the combined effects of conflict, Covid and climate – are placing ever greater demands on DEC members and the wider humanitarian community around the world. We profoundly hope that the generosity shown towards the people of Ukraine will be sustained and extended to many more people whose lives are in danger around the world, now and in the future.
Support people fleeing the devastating conflict in Ukraine: donate to the DEC appeal
Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) charities and their local partners are in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries providing food, water, shelter and medical assistance. Learn more and donate what you can today
You can also donate to the DEC Appeals for Afghanistan and other crises at www.dec.org.uk