The violent crisis in Eastern Ukraine and harsh political climate in Crimea has caused thousands of families and individuals to flee their homes, sometimes with no place to go and with only a small bag of belongings. The UNHCR has estimated over 1,00,000 Ukrainians have fled their homes and are seeking refuge throughout the rest of Ukraine, and in Russia. The refugee crisis in Ukraine is now the largest displacement crisis in Europe since the Balkan Wars. According to the UN, “there are several other refugee crises in the world, many of which are larger than Ukraine. But the displacement crisis still poses a serious political and economic problem for Ukraine and an overwhelmed international aid community. As the conflict drags on, the number of displaced will increase even as the will – and the means – to help them shrinks.”
Bridge to Ukraine is striving to be one of many organizations in the international community that is providing help during this refugee crisis in Ukraine. We have setup several partner organizations, who will be working with us to provide much needed aid to those who have fled their homes with nothing. With your help, we will be providing these camps with long term support. At this time, we are focusing on the short-term survival needs in the camps, such as food, medicine, shelter, clothing and hygiene. Once the situation stabilizes, we intend to continue our aid to these camps with a long-term approach focused on helping IDP’s find employment, and more permanent housing.
Our first effort delivered $1939 worth of aid, helping families with infants and babies in Dobrpol’ye by supplying them with kits full of baby food, supplies, and hygiene products. With your help, we’ll be providing the same kind of aid, except this time we’ve expanded our impact to two more camps, and have set a significantly higher funding goal. Read below for more information on the camps we are supporting, their individual situations, and their current needs.
Where We are Helping Refugees:
Dobro (one of our partner organizations) is not helping a physical camp like the others. This organization is one of many helping the IDP’s in the Dobropol’ye area and has helped organize a central area to collect and distribute aid. The people are living in and around Dobropol’ye in whatever shelter they can find. New people are arriving everyday, currently the official number of IDP is 5045. The Dobropol’ye is located about 75 km from Donetsk (in Eastern Ukraine). Urgently needed supplies include food, warm clothing, bedding, and supplies to make a former hospital livable for the many people without adequate shelter. Vladimir Oros, our main contact at Dobro, tells us that there had been support coming from the city and local businesses but that has dried up.
Currently the camp in Zhytomyr (located directly west of Kyiv) has 218 people. They are taking shelter in the Hotel “Zhytomyr”. According to the Refugee camp manager, Mykola Cherednik, the number of internally displaced people (IDP) in Zhytomyr Oblast is between 5100 and 5300. That number seems to be staying relatively stable at this point. The camp is working with the Zhytomyr Oblast department of Labor and Public Health and also with the Zhytomyr City Administration. The biggest needs right for the Zhytomyr camp are shampoos, dish and laundry soap, female hygiene products, alcohol wipes, antivirals, topical ointments, children’s and adult shoes for winter, gloves for children, baby strollers, and foodstuffs (bread, pasta,vegetables, fruits, meats, baby food).
In Sumy Oblast (NE of Kyiv) we are working with two camps. The first in located in Sumy and the second is located in Bititsa (10 km from Sumy). We are working with two organizations there as well: Ukrainian Heart and Ark. In Sumy there is approximately 35 people (17 are children). They are staying in church buildings. They most urgently need warm clothes, shoes, and diapers. The camp in Bititsa currently also has 35 people (10 are children). They are staying in a recreational center called “Sunny Meadow”. Bititsa is in need of food, diapers, drugs, and a way to heat their food. The IDP situation in Sumy is somewhat stable. People come and stay in the shelters while they look for work or get in contact with family. The number of 35 is the specific number of people who have been at the shelter the longest and haven’t been able to find work or contact family.