Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal: How you can help
20 April 2022
Like you, CAFOD is deeply disturbed by the ongoing attacks on Ukraine.
Together, we stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people and send our prayers to our sister organisation Caritas Ukraine, and those Caritas agencies in neighbouring countries, who are already helping people affected by this conflict.
We are part of one of the largest aid networks in the world – Caritas Internationalis, and because of our global reach and local presence, we are there when an emergency hits.
As one Caritas, we stand united with them.
Your donation will go to help the people of Ukraine and also others around the world affected by war and conflict.
What is happening?
Russian armed forces began their attacks against Ukraine – invading the country on Thursday 24 February targeting military bases and Ukrainian cities. Russian troops advanced toward the capital Kyiv early on Saturday 26 February and street fighting broke out as city officials urged residents to take shelter.
Tetiana Stawnychy, President of Caritas Ukraine, said at the time of the invasion, that “the current crisis will inevitably lead to a colossal humanitarian catastrophe”.
Russia’s military invasion has brought dire consequences for Ukraine; threatening people’s lives, their jobs and essential buildings like schools and hospitals.
Thousands of civilians, including many children, have died. As the fighting continues these figures are likely to rise. The conflict has already caused food shortages and forced millions of people from their homes. The bombing of public services like schools, hospitals and train stations across the country will only result in further suffering of the Ukrainian people.
According to the UN’s refugee agency (UNHCR), over 5 million people have fled Ukraine into neighbouring countries (mainly to Poland, Hungary, Moldova and Romania), with millions more having to leave their homes inside Ukraine. Many of those who have fled are women and children, having to leave behind their loved ones.
How are CAFOD’s local partners responding?
We are part of one of the largest aid networks in the world – Caritas Internationalis, and because of our global reach and local presence, we are there when an emergency hits. Our Ukrainian and neighbouring Caritas local aid workers and volunteers are part of the communities they work with and so understand people’s immediate needs.
“I am truly proud of our team that are working hard to look to the needs of the most vulnerable, while managing their own circumstances as well. We are grateful for the outpouring of support from our partners and people of good will from abroad.”
Tetiana Stawnychy, President of Caritas Ukraine
Caritas organisations are already on the ground responding to this humanitarian crisis. Donations to CAFOD’s appeal are helping them to continue and expand their life-saving activities:
Caritas Ukraine has 19 centres across the country. They are extremely experienced, having been active for 30 years and have been responding to the conflict in eastern Ukraine since 2014. They are already helping by:
- Running warm and safe ‘collective centres’ which provide beds, food, washing facilities and safe spaces for children. Displaced families can also receive up-to-date information, referrals to local services and psychosocial support.
- Transporting people to friends, family, or the collective centres for shelter and support;
- Organising Child-Friendly-Spaces where children can play sports and do arts and crafts as a means of coping with their experiences.
- Caritas Spes-Ukraine, a charity of the Religious Mission of the Roman Catholic Church in Ukraine, is helping children and families to reach safe locations. They are continuing to operate in direct conflict areas, providing emergency shelter often in parish basements they have equipped with bedding and supplies. They are also distributing humanitarian aid in their centres across the country and to people who have fled to the borders.
- Caritas Poland, Caritas Romania and Caritas Moldova are all supporting people who have fled Ukraine and are in need of food, water, shelter and means to continue their journeys to safety.
Your generous donations to CAFOD and the DEC's Appeals are already reaching those in need. Jo Kitterick, CAFOD's Director of Fundraising and Community Participation, said:
“This amazing show of support for people fleeing the conflict has meant that we have been able to start spending money straight away to help more people.
“Through our international partner Caritas, we are working inside Ukraine and on its borders, setting up safe centres with beds, food and washing facilities. We’re also providing transport, information, psychological support and child-friendly spaces."
Thanks to the generous donations made to the DEC's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, CAFOD are also working with the following organisations in Ukraine and neighbouring countries:
Jesuit Refugee Service (JRS) are helping Ukrainian refugees in Romania:
- Support paying for rented accommodation, bedding and essential furniture.
- Providing legal assistance on entitlements and possible next steps while they are in Romania.
- Electronic tablets and internet for children so they can continue attending the online classes delivered by their schools in Ukraine.
- Helping people access medical consultations (physical and psychological) and medicines.
- DePaul International are working in Ukraine to support people affected by the fighting or who have fled their homes. They are providing supplies for soup kitchens and food distributions to those in need. They are also distributing hygiene kits and medicines (first aid kits for individuals and advanced medical supplies for hospitals).
- Catholic Relief Services (CRS) are working alongside Caritas Moldova in the government-run centres which are providing hot food, hygiene items and bedding.
How has the Catholic Church responded?
Pope Francis has called for political leaders to make "a great examination of conscience before God, who is the God of peace and not of war".
In his Angelus address on 6 March Pope Francis said: “I make a heartfelt appeal for humanitarian corridors to be genuinely secured, and for aid to be guaranteed and access facilitated to the besieged areas, in order to offer vital relief to our brothers and sisters oppressed by bombs and fear".
The Rt Rev John Arnold, Catholic Bishop of Salford, and Chair of Trustees at CAFOD, along with more than 1000 faith leaders from across the UK, have written to Prime Minister Boris Johnson, urging him to reconsider the Nationality and Borders Bill.
Bishop John and other faith leaders believe that the bill closes the door to refugees. “While there is still conflict and injustice in the world, there will always be desperate people needing to seek sanctuary from war, persecution, and suffering.”
What is CAFOD calling for?
Every human life is priceless. We are calling for an urgent diplomatic solution and a lasting ceasefire to prevent further suffering and to bring peace back to the region.
There is now a growing humanitarian crisis, and Caritas Ukraine - among other humanitarian organisations - are on the frontline of the response.
Schools, hospitals and water systems must be protected from any armed violence so that practical help can be delivered without delay to people across the country.
The UK must also show compassion towards those who are fleeing the conflict, providing safe passage and refuge to those who need it.
We are concerned by reports of discrimination at Ukraine borders and call for all refugees to be given help and safe passage regardless of their ethnicity, gender or faith.
How will my donation help?
We have been amazed by your enormous, compassionate response to this crisis and your donations will help local experts in Ukraine to keep providing:
- shelter and clothing
When the immediate needs of families affected by the Ukraine crisis have been met, and we have enough funding to be there for the communities we are helping in the long-term, to ensure they can rebuild and heal, we will use any additional funding to support families fleeing conflict around the world.