Five ways you can help Ukraine during the current humanitarian crisis
Russia’s recent invasion of Ukraine has shocked millions worldwide, with devastating images showing thousands forced to take shelter, families being separated and cities being brutally torn apart.
Image description: 'As people gathered against Russia's war on Ukraine in Bristo Square, I took a few pictures of people protesting, holding posters and sharing their stories. This inspired me to create a collage of the pictures I took to display the different types of people at the protest and to try and capture their emotions.'
It is estimated by the United Nations that up to 2 million Ukrainians have fled since the start of the Russian invasion, with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees calling it the ‘fastest refugee crisis in Europe since World War Two’. Such refugees have headed to several neighbouring countries including Romania, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, among others. Indeed, as of March 9th Poland had taken in 1,412, 502 Ukrainian refugees.
Though the current situation has left many of us feeling helpless, there is tangible support that individuals in the UK (and worldwide) can provide to directly support those in Ukraine as they continue in their efforts to survive the Russian invasion.
1. Donate to charity
Many charities are seeking to provide ongoing support, aid and resources for those sheltering in or fleeing Ukraine. Below is a comprehensive list of four legitimate charities committed to this endeavour that you may wish to donate to. This is just a snapshot, however, and there are of course other charities doing equally important work.
The Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC)
The DEC recently launched its Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal to raise funds for food, water, medicine, protection and trauma for those fleeing Ukraine. The DEC brings together 15 leading UK Charities (including the British Red Cross, CARE International and Save the Children UK), to raise funds in both a quick and effective fashion. Every pound donated is matched by the government, up to the value of £20m.
The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHRC)
The UN Refugee Agency has launched an appeal to support those fleeing their homes in Ukraine and those whose homes have been damaged in the invasion. As such, the agency is providing emergency shelter, relief items and emergency payments, alongside access to social services, welfare support and psychological aid for those who need it. In Romania, it is providing advice on asylum procedures, offering legal advice and psychological support.
UNICEF has had a long history of providing support to Ukraine, working on the ground since conflict broke out in the country’s east eight years ago. The charity’s donations are going towards providing families with access to clean water and food, alongside helping to ensure child health and protection services can continue their work amid the crisis.
Choose Love has set up a Ukraine Crisis Fundraiser to help provide emergency medical care, shelter, clothes, food and aid necessities alongside significant support for the LGBTQ+ community and mental health support. Not only this, but the fundraiser is also helping to provide vital legal support for those attempting to flee the country.
2. Write to your local MP
Writing to your local MP to express your concerns about the ongoing crisis in Ukraine is an easy and practical way you can help put direct pressure on our political leaders, ensuring they don’t misjudge the public mood towards the recent Russian invasion. You can find a draft template of a letter here.
3. Sign petitions
There are many petitions you can sign to help those in Ukraine, in particular, to help transform the governmental approach. Poignant petitions include a Change.org petition calling for the UK government to provide more extensive help for those fleeing the country, another Change.org petition calling for the safe passage of Africans and all People of Colour out of Ukraine, alongside a parliamentary petition calling for the UK government to waive visa requirements for Ukrainian refugees.
4. Attend protests
Protests are a great way to show your solidarity with the people of Ukraine whilst also putting pressure on the government to continue in their efforts to implement policies that can better provide them with support and refuge. British-Ukrainian Aid has been sharing details of demonstrations taking place across London, whilst the Ukraine Solidarity Campaign has been posting about protests taking place around the UK.
5. Amplify the voices of those in Ukraine
Raising awareness on social media of the enormity of the situation in Ukraine, the origin of the conflict and how people can provide support helps to amplify Ukrainian voices in a time when they need it most. Further, social media platforms not only enable individuals with the opportunity to better educate themselves but can also be a practical source for organising community efforts to generate aid support.