Concern Worldwide helped over 65,000 people in Ukraine during the first year of the conflict, but the humanitarian toll from the fighting continues to grow.
An estimated 13.5 million people have been forced to flee their homes as a result of the conflict, with 5.4 million of these displaced but remaining within Ukraine.
“Supporting the needs of internally displaced people is a major challenge, as more and more people move to so-called safer areas,” Concern’s Programme Director in Ukraine Erica Niel said. “The scale of the impact which the conflict is having on civilians and civilian infrastructure, and the resultant scale of humanitarian need within Ukraine is huge, and we are concerned that it will only grow if the much discussed Spring offensive starts in the coming weeks.”
Concern is providing support to displaced people and communities hosting them, prioritizing the most vulnerable, such as recently arrived families, those traveling with only one parent, older people, or those with specific needs.
Among the supports provided are cash payments, food parcels, hygiene items such as soap and toothpaste, and household items such as blankets, bedding, and shelter materials. In addition, Concern is providing psychosocial support for people affected by the conflict.
Concern is working within Ukraine with partners from the Alliance2015 group of European non-government organizations. It joined German NGO Welthungerhilfe and Italian NGO Cesvi to form the Joint Emergency Response in Ukraine (JERU). Together, they are currently working in Ternopil and Khmelnytskyi in the west, and in Poltava, Dnipro, Zaporizhzya and Sumy in the east. They are working closely with with local Ukrainian civil society partners to deliver support.
During the early stage of the conflict, Concern and local partners provided support of washing machines, tumble dryers, bedding, food parcels and hygiene items to communities which were hosting people in schools, halls and public buildings.
The food parcels, bedding materials and hygiene items are to transition hubs supporting people on the move.
Concern is supporting 8,000 people with payments to cover household utility bills over the winter period and to buy winter clothing.
“As long as the conflict continues, a huge number of Ukrainian people will be displaced from their homes or their home area. Concern and its JERU partners will remain on the ground supporting them for as long as we are needed, helping families to get their lives back on track,” Ms Niel said.
The conflict and its impact on exports through the Ukrainian Black Sea ports have also fuelled a massive humanitarian crisis among some of the most vulnerable people around the world.
“The ripple effects of this crisis are rising food prices, a fertilizer shortage, and a fuel crisis resulting in increased food insecurity and hunger in vulnerable regions,” said Concern US CEO Colleen Kelly.
One year on, this conflict joins a long list of global crises that have left millions of people living in hardship, distress, and uncertainty. Humanitarian need around the world continues to grow.
“Concern is responding to an emergency after emergency. From catastrophic flooding in Pakistan and extreme drought and hunger in the Horn of Africa to the most recent earthquake in Syria and Turkiye, leaving millions displaced,” Ms. Kelly said. “We cannot continue to ignore the scale of humanitarian need due to climate catastrophes and increasing conflict.”
Darina* and her son, Petro* receive JERU food parcels. They arrived in Ternopil in March, 2022, having fled after her home was attacked.
“We were woken up by our shaking house and we got positioned between two walls around 5am. I was so scared, we got ready so quickly I didn’t even manage to take all our documents. My parents had to send them later. We spent about 11 days in the basement. We couldn’t leave earlier because we were afraid. It was so scary. When I came here I was too scared to go out. After a month it eased, but I still have those memories.”
Darina and her son fled with just the clothes on their backs. “When we came here we only had our clothes on, and with the help of INGOs we received food kits, hygiene items and clothing.”
They are receiving the [JERU] food kits for the second time: “We use the items, and so they are necessary.”
*Names have been changed for security reasons.
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