Humanitarian aid in Ukraine
The Red Cross is supporting people in Ukraine, providing psychosocial support and essentials such as food and fuel.
Last updated 4 May 2022
Ukraine: desperate humanitarian need
As the conflict in Ukraine enters its sixth week, the level of death, destruction, and suffering inflicted on civilians is abhorrent.
No one in Ukraine is left unscathed by the ongoing conflict. An estimated 18 million people will need humanitarian aid. More than 5 million people have left Ukraine, and nearly 8 million remain displaced within the country.
In the past seven weeks the Red Cross has reached more than 1.5 million people with life-saving aid, within Ukraine, in neighbouring countries, as well as other European countries. Support includes financial aid, food, clothing, water, first aid and psychosocial support.
Civilians in Ukraine urgently need respite from violence and humanitarian aid. People in cities like Mariupol are trapped with no safe way out. Each day, each hour that passes has a terrible human cost. Immediate and unimpeded humanitarian access is urgently required to allow for the voluntary safe passage of thousands of civilians and hundreds of wounded out of the city.
The rules of war are clear: civilians must be protected from the fighting. They are not targets. Housing, health facilities, water supplies are not targets. In places like Mariupol, people desperately need safe passage out of the city.
This is not an option, but the parties’ obligations under international humanitarian law.
Please help Ukraine
This is a conflict that has hit people on a personal, psychological and emotional level, every day. Please support our vital work.
Our volunteers and staff will continue to work closely with affected communities and to cover their basic needs. We are focused on being adaptable, flexible and responsive to whatever happens next.Maksym Dotsenko Director General of the Ukrainian Red Cross Society
How is the Red Cross helping in Ukraine now?
Our priority is to assist people during this time of heightened tension.
The Ukrainian Red Cross (URCS) is the lead humanitarian organisation in Ukraine, and since the onset of this conflict, is being supported by the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement to step up its response. Together, they have supported 1.5 million people so far.
We are meeting people's existing needs by:
- Helping to get people to safety. To date, the URCS has evacuated more than 90,000 people.
- Distributing 1,100 tonnes of aid, including food, bedding, blankets, tents, water, hygiene items across the country.
Introducing mobile medial crews in some parts of Ukraine. These teams will reach people in hard-to-reach areas with medical support, working alongside Ukrainian primary health care providers.
- Issuing food vouchers, so that families can choose products according to personal needs.
- Providing psychosocial support to 110,000 traumatised people.
- Providing first aid training for 1,000 people in metro stations and bomb shelters and supporting fire fighters, medical and civil protection units.
- Taking people to hospital, transporting medical supplies and helping at blood donation points.
- Supporting hospitals and primary healthcare facilities with medicines and medical equipment.
- Helping families to stay in contact, and educating people on international humanitarian law, and on risks of explosives
Red Cross teams from neighbouring countries have been regularly crossing into Ukraine, helping the local Red Cross deliver food and hygiene packages to people on the move. Large-scale deliveries of food and non-food items are also being delivered to our warehouses in Chernivtsi and Uzhhorod for distribution across the country.
How to support people in Ukraine
The situation in Ukraine is incredibly tense, dangerous and distressing for people. Red Cross teams in Ukraine and the border countries are providing essential aid. Donations are helping us to achieve this.
We're not currently sending any volunteers to Ukraine from the UK. Right now, we are asking people in the UK to help by donating money to our emergency appeal. These donations are by far the quickest, safest, and more direct way to help people and to support the work of the Red Cross in Ukraine and neighbouring countries.
Donations of clothes, blankets, medicine and other items are really appreciated, but we only accept money for emergency appeals. Items have to be sorted, cleaned, and transported, which slows down our response, and we aim to support people as quickly as possible.
How else can I support?
The current humanitarian situation in Ukraine
Hundreds of thousands of people living close to the line of contact are regularly suffering from disrupted access to food, water, and electricity. This has been their daily reality for almost eight years.
The impact is widespread and some of the most vulnerable people are the hardest hit. People, including those with disabilities and medical conditions have taken shelter in basements along with the wounded. However, supplies of food and water are rapidly running out.
This is an active, ongoing conflict that continues to inflict heavy humanitarian consequences on homes, essential infrastructure and people’s lives and well-being.
In response to the crisis in Ukraine 2022, The Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS), International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and along wider Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement aim to react quickly and swiftly. Whatever happens, we will continue to be close to the affected communities to help them cover their basic needs and be prepared during challenging times.
As the conflict evolves and escalates, the anguish and fear people have endured over the recent days deepens. We are extremely concerned that the conflict is affecting very populated areas. As we have seen before, when neighbourhoods become the frontline, the consequences for people - including children, the sick, the elderly - are simply devastating.Florence Gillette, ICRC Head of Delegation in Ukraine
Ongoing Red Cross support in Ukraine
For the past eight years, the International Red Cross in Ukraine (the Ukrainian Red Cross Society) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), have helped communities affected by the conflict and will continue to do so.
The Ukrainian Red Cross Society (URCS) is helping people maintain their livelihoods as well as providing psychological support.
In areas where access to healthcare services is limited, volunteers and staff provide first aid training, operate mobile health teams, and raise awareness of health risks in communities.
They have also been supporting small businesses with cash grants or equipment and vocational training, as well as raising awareness of mines through training and educational sessions run with the Ukraine Red Cross Society.
As the situation develops, the Red Cross’ priority is to support people during this time of heightened tension and anxiety.
Are you concerned about a British family member in Ukraine?
You can contact the Foreign Commonwealth and Development office for more information:
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Call: 020 7008 5000
British Nationals who need assistance
Consular support is still available to British nationals through the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office 24-hour helpline:
- From Ukraine: +380 44 490 3660
- From the UK: +44 (0) 1908 516666