How to keep supporting Ukrainians ravaged by the Russia war
An overwhelming response from the public means more physical Ukraine donations may not be needed – here are some other ways to help.
by: Evie Breese, Faima Bakar
6 Jun 2023
After being swamped by the generosity of the public, many charities are saying they now need volunteers to help sort the mountains of items. Image: Vanessa Furey
More than 15 months after Russia invaded Ukraine, the conflict shows no signs of slowing. A major dam in Ukraine’s east, which has been controlled by Russia since it invaded the country more than a year ago, has been destroyed.
The Kakhovka Hydroelectric Power Plant, in the city of Nova Kakhovka in Ukraine’s Kherson region, unleashed a flood which could spell catastrophe for Ukranians.
Thousands have already begun evacuation and the city, which is home to about 16,000 people, could see further destruction in the coming days.
Since the Ukraine-Russia war began last February, millions of citizens have evacuated the country with no sight of return.
More than 8.2 million people have fled Ukraine into other European countries, according to the latest figures from the UN high commissioner for refugees, while millions more have been displaced within the country The UNCHR puts the figure at 5.9mil but not sure what date this is? Cant find 2023 figures
As of May 2023, 175,800 Ukrainians have arrived in the UK on one of the Ukraine visa schemes since they began, although some of these will have since left the UK either temporarily or permanently. Of those who were recorded as arriving, 51,800 were on the Ukraine Family Scheme and 124,000 were on the Ukraine sponsorship scheme.
Ukrainians who are arriving and have arrived in the UK over the past year still need support. Many charities are still relying on donations to help those who have been displaced.
And there are things you can do to help people still in Ukraine, especially those devastated by the. However, if you’re looking to donate, make sure you’re supporting charities in the right way.
Aid charities do not accept or handle donations of physical items, and the British Red Cross has told people it does not want donated goods as they “can slow down (their) response”.
The British Red Cross has advised that if people have things they want to donate, they should take them to a charity that is linked with partner organisations in Ukraine.
And people who want to donate items should always check what is needed, and if the organisation is able to transport them.
Here are some of ways you can help Ukraine
Give to trusted charities
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which has launched an emergency appeal to help Ukrainian civilians, is made up of 15 agencies including the British Red Cross, Oxfam and Save the Children, and works with local partners in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to help provide food, water, shelter and medical assistance.
DEC charities are supporting the local aid effort to provide cash assistance, food, healthcare, clean water, shelter, protection, and more.
So far, £400 million has been raised by the UK public, including businesses and foundations. The government match funded £25 million of public donations to the appeal too.
While charities are yet to raise funds for the dam flooding in Ukraine, there are organisations such as RE:ACT who handle disaster response. RE:ACT has been advocating for the urgent needs of the Ukrainian people. Working under the banner of Operation Pace, RE:ACT responders have deployed on the ground in Ukraine, Moldova, Poland, Romania (where many Ukrainians have resettled), and here in the UK, to support the global humanitarian effort in response to the conflict.
Support Ukrainian and local journalists
Developments on the ground are being covered by English-language news outlets including the Kyiv Independent and the New Voice of Ukraine. The Kyiv Independent says it was created by journalists in order to defend editorial independence.
There is also a fundraiser for The Kyiv Independent to support the publication to continue reporting on the ground from Ukraine.President of Ukraine Volodymyr Zelenskyy has implored people across the world to support Ukraine by sharing current events with “everyone”. This is a list on twitter of local journalists in Ukraine who are sharing what is happening in the country.
Charities working on the group in Ukraine are the closest to the people that need help and will likely be some of the best informed on how to use donations for the greatest impact.
Sunflower of Peace is a charity that helps paramedics and doctors, and has been fundraising for supplies, which includes first aid medical tactical backpacks.
Voices of Children has been helping children affected by the war in eastern Ukraine since 2015. The organisation provides support to children and families through art therapy, psychologists, video storytelling and a number of other methods.
Volunteer to help charities and offer accommodation for Ukrainian refugees
Support Ukraine is coordinating donations and deliveries of essential goods, medicines, food products, medical equipment and ammunition. You can also sign up as a volunteer or driver, or register an aid collection centre in your area.
Ukrainian London has donation details for humanitarian and medical aid. It includes a Google Form allowing you to register the help you can offer for Ukrainian refugees arriving in the UK.
UkraineNow is a global effort to coordinate help: evacuations, medical and food supplies, information, and cash on the ground. Through UkraineNow you can sign up to host Ukrainians who have left the country.
Write to headteachers
There is a template here for Ukrainian parents sending their children to schools in the UK, asking for support, counselling, compassionate leave and understanding. The letter can be amended if you’re a parent who has Ukrainian children arriving at your kids’ schools.
You can also urge headteachers to provide compassion and counselling to pupils, to ensure that discussions of the war in school show respect to Ukraine and condemn Russia’s illegal invasion, and to request that the school fundraise for humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
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