Update: WAR IN UKRAINE
March 10, 2022
The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is changing every day – nowhere is 100% safe. People have taken up arms, fled to neighboring countries, or taken shelter in the basements of buildings. Russia’s attacks have ruptured the local infrastructure. There are basic humanitarian needs and limited access to medications – insulin, diazepam, anti-allergy, and other life-saving medications for people with chronic diseases and disabilities. Further, in most places there is no transportation for the people to collect supplies or reach emergency medical services.
At a time when there is no electricity or internet connection in most settlements in Eastern Ukraine, we continue to work under these conditions. Our 13 crisis mobile teams provide social and psychological assistance as people cope with trauma, fear, and anxiety in this difficult time. By phone, social media, and through our SupportME website, our 12 psychologists and social workers are providing psychological support to adolescents and their parents remotely. An employee from our crisis mobile team in Sievierodonetsk, where heavy shelling occurs, wrote to me: “Our land is shaking.” In Shchastia, Volnovakha, Stanytsia Luhanska, and Popasna – cities in Eastern Ukraine where our staff remain – there are water and electricity shortages and 80% of the buildings and infrastructure have been destroyed.
Over the past 2 weeks, we have identified several highly vulnerable groups:
- those who need to be urgently evacuated from places of active hostilities, who have lost everything;
- those who require humanitarian aid in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Chernihiv, Mykolaiv, Sumy cities and Kyiv region;
- those who travel with vulnerable persons (children with disabilities, elderly people); and
- those who have already settled in Western Ukraine and neighboring cities.
Supporting these groups requires targeted approaches and tackling challenging logistics.
HealthRight and the Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health welcome partnerships as we advocate for more humanitarian corridors for the evacuation and the delivery of humanitarian aid including essential medications and mental health & psychosocial services (MHPSS). There is a great need for mental health services for those who are enduring constant shelling, for those on the road with children, for those who have lost everything and do not know how to rebuild their lives. Basic assistance is needed for people leaving places of active conflict who have already arrived in Western Ukraine or neighboring countries. People come without anything, so they need clothes, medications, bedding, etc. Further, providing essential sexual and reproductive health care for communities experiencing trauma and displacement is a human right, especially during conflict. This includes safeguarding maternity and children’s hospitals, which have been the targets of recent bombings in Mariupol, access to family planning, and protection from gender-based violence. Lastly, we advocate for the support of civil society organizations which remain in Ukraine’s conflict areas and continue to provide immediate relief and shelter to communities affected by violence.
Executive Director, Ukrainian Foundation for Public Health
Country Director, HealthRight Ukraine