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The humanitarian situation in Ukraine is disastrous. There is a lack of necessary goods such as food, water and medicine. Daily life is immensely difficult, as important infrastructure has been destroyed and power supply is not guaranteed everywhere. Many people are traumatised by the horrors of war.
In more than 60 social centres and with mobile teams, Caritas in Ukraine provides people throughout the country with the necessities of life: places to sleep, food, clean drinking water, hygiene articles and medicines. Women and children in particular receive important support, for example through the Child Friendly Spaces Initiative, which enables children to participate in recreational activities in order better to cope with the psychological stress.
Since the beginning of the war, Caritas has assisted around two million people across Ukraine. More than a thousand Caritas staff and countless volunteers work tirelessly to provide this help. Due to the war action, humanitarian work has to be interrupted in some places for the safety of staff and beneficiaries.
While hopes for a quick end to the war were high at the beginning, the people of Ukraine are now forced to find longer-term solutions. The savings of many families are running out. Thousands have lost their job. In the south-east of Ukraine, Caritas Switzerland supports vulnerable families on their onward journey with emergency cash assistance. In and around the city of Odessa, many displaced families are settling for a longer period. They and their host families receive financial support for six months to enable them to build a new livelihood.
‘The cash assistance enables the families to support themselves in dignity. At the same time, it boosts the local economy’, explains Lukas Voborsky, the programme director for Ukraine at Caritas Switzerland. In addition, Caritas offers people psychosocial support to help them cope better with the impact of the war and traumatic experiences.
More than eight million people have already fled across the borders to neighbouring countries. The care for and accommodation of these people is very challenging for these countries.
Caritas Switzerland provides emergency aid in cooperation with local Caritas organisations in Poland, Romania, Moldova and Slovakia. The people fleeing are provided with basic necessities such as food parcels, medicine and hygiene products. In addition to reception centres, where refugees are given a place to sleep for a few days, longer-term accommodation has also been set up. Vulnerable people such as e.g. evacuated children from orphanages in Ukraine are sheltered in these places. Initial psychological support and legal counselling are further pillars of the emergency aid.
Swiss Solidarity and SDC support the cash project in Ukraine. The project in Poland is also supported by Swiss Solidarity.
The needs will continue to be enormous in the coming months and will continue for years to come. Caritas Switzerland is therefore planning a long-term commitment in Ukraine and neighbouring countries and is in urgent need of support.