19 August 2022

Ukraine six months on: People impacted by the conflict “face further hardship” as winter approaches, Red Cross warns

For further information or to request an interview, please contact: Emma Moni - emmamoni@redcross.org.uk / 07921932387; Teresa Goncalves - tgoncalves@redcross.org.uk or press@redcross.org.uk, 0207 8777557 / 07710391703

  • Since the Ukraine conflict escalated, thousands of people have died or have been injured, and millions of people have been internally displaced or have fled to other countries, including the UK. Millions of people, many of whom hoped the conflict would be short-lived, are now faced with the reality of having to rebuild their lives away from home for the foreseeable future. 
  • People in Ukraine and bordering countries now face increased health risks posed by the onset of winter. At the same time, tens of thousands are, once again, faced with finding somewhere else to live, as much of the temporary accommodation provided, such as schools, will soon become unavailable or inhabitable due to the cold.  
  • The Red Cross has so far reached around 5 million people impacted by the conflict with vital support. In the UK, the British Red Cross has helped more than 10,000 people who have arrived from Ukraine. This includes distributing around £1 million in emergency financial assistance and more than one million minutes on SIM cards so people can reconnect with loved ones. 
  • As the cost-of-living crisis unfolds in the UK, making sure there isn’t a cliff edge where families who have arrived from Ukraine could face homelessness should be a priority. It's vital that the UK Government is working with refugees, sponsors, local authorities, and community organisations to explore next steps.  

Mike Adamson, chief executive of the British Red Cross, said: 

“The conflict in Ukraine has affected millions of people, but sadly, six months on people face further hardship. For many, damaged accommodation will no longer be habitable as the bitter weather sets in. On top of this, much of the temporary accommodation provided, such as schools, will soon become unavailable. I saw first-hand how hard the Red Cross continues to work to support those most in need. We'll continue to be there for as long as we're needed. 

“Meanwhile, in the UK, the cost-of-living crisis and predicted rocketing fuel prices this winter pose a huge risk. Making sure there isn’t a cliff edge where families who have arrived from Ukraine could face homelessness should be a priority. We need the UK Government to explore solutions with partners and commit to extending financial support for hosts.” 

Cathy Zugaj, (64) who is half Ukrainian and a British Red Cross emergency responder and volunteer* said: 

“Meeting and providing support to refugees as they arrived from Ukraine in the UK was hard, but deeply rewarding. As well as being a welcoming face, I was able to provide SIM cards so they could call loved ones and give them important information about accessing vital services. 

“I am proud to work for the British Red Cross, and I am extremely grateful to all those that donated to the Ukraine appeal, which is enabling us to help so many people in need.” 

*Cathy also volunteers for the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, Waltham Cross branch which supports refugees. Her father co-founded the organisation when he fled to the UK from Ukraine during WW2.  

Notes to editors


Mike Adamson, CEO, British Red Cross – has recently been to Ukraine. Adamson can comment on the current situation, the Red Cross response, and what the UK Government should do support refugees in the UK and those hosting them.  

Senior members of the Ukrainian Red Cross - can comment on the Red Cross response in Ukraine and the humanitarian needs and challenges. 

Senior members of the IFRC - can comment on the IFRC response across Ukraine and bordering countries. 

British Red Cross staff - can talk about supporting refugees arriving in the UK.  

Press conference 

Francesco Rocca, President of IFRC and Maksym Dotsenko, Director General of URCS, will give a press briefing on Tuesday, 23 August 2022 at 9am GMT to discuss the mounting humanitarian response and its devastating knock-on effects, such as the worsening food crisis.   

Full Zoom details:  

Join meeting: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/85050175519  

Meeting ID: 850 5017 5519 

One tap mobile +13863475053,,85050175519# US 

Find your local number: https://us02web.zoom.us/u/kbvLIQzjKe  

About the British Red Cross 

With millions of volunteers across 192 countries, the British Red Cross is part of a Movement that’s there for people as soon as crisis happens. Together, we are the world’s emergency responders.