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The war in Ukraine: Providing Humanitarian Assistance to those Impacted

Funding from the Irish Emergency Alliance provided humanitarian assistance to more than 5.3 million people

Within Ukraine, over three million beneficiaries have received humanitarian support from Caritas. Photo: Caritas Ukraine

On February 24th last year, when Russia invaded Ukraine, Iryna Pysarenko (31), a nurse from the Donetsk region in Ukraine, knew she had to make an urgent and challenging decision to leave her home. 

Iryna, who was six months pregnant, and her daughter Elyzaveta (6) gathered some clothes and important documents and left the basement of their family home to reach safety at the border with Romania.

Iryna Pysarenko with her two daughters Photo: Caritas

It was very challenging because I had to leave my husband behind and I was pregnant with our second child.

On April 4, Iryna reached Romania with her daughter, sister-in-law and two nieces. They were met by Caritas with food, accommodation and information on what to do next. Caritas found a doctor for the family and accompanied Iryna to a maternity unit for a check-up. Elyzaveta (6) was registered in school and in activities run by the local Caritas centre. 

Iryna said she is very grateful for Caritas support, but she stills misses her family in Ukraine and is eager for her husband to be with his daughters.

We express our deep gratitude to the Caritas centre. I gave birth to a child here. The centre’s staff helped me with picking up the documents and drawing up the medical documentation. Thank you for the opportunity to go to school with a full program. My eldest daughter attends first grade and goes to school as she would in Ukraine.

How Trócaire is responding

With funding from the Irish Emergency Alliance, Trócaire and the Caritas network in Ukraine and in the neighbouring countries of Poland, Romania, Moldova, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Hungary, have provided humanitarian assistance to more than 5.3 million people impacted by violence and unrest in the eastern European region.

A recent Humanitarian Needs Overview report by UNOCHA estimates that as many as 17.6 million people in Ukraine currently require vital assistance. That includes 6.3 million people displaced within the country, 4.4 million people who have returned home to Ukraine after having fled temporarily to another country, and 6.9 million people who have remained in their homes throughout the conflict.

President of Caritas Ukraine Tetiana Stawnychy says, 

This past year has been a difficult one. It was a year that was filled with suffering and challenges, with pain and loss, with difficult situations. At the same time, it was also filled with a great solidarity, with a great expression of hope, of faith, of love and assistance to one another.

Within Ukraine, over 3 million beneficiaries have received humanitarian support from Caritas. Around 3.7 million food and non-food items (NFIs) were provided; 637,000 shelters were offered; 192,000 services of health and psychosocial support were provided; 377,000 protection services were granted; over 1.5 million water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) items were distributed; and 107,600 received cash assistance.

Caritas Volunteer Magdalena at the Hope Tent in Przemyśle, Poland Photo: Caritas Poland

Secretary General of Caritas-Spes Ukraine Fr Vyacheslav Grynevych says, 

Every day, every Ukrainian and every Caritas-Spes employee performs a crucial service to save people, and we are not alone in this. We strongly feel your support every day. You have been walking with us on this Way of the Cross for 365 days, and we know that you will not leave us alone in the future.