Ukraine humanitarian crisis: 6 months on

This is a message from UNHCR Chief of Emergencies and External Engagement Astrid van Genderen Stort.


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This Ukrainian family’s home was destroyed by missiles. Photo: © UNHCR/Andrew McConnell

I’m Astrid and I work in the emergencies and external engagement team at the UN Refugee Agency. You may have heard from me before, most recently about the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine.

Today I’m writing to say a massive thank you for the incredible generosity you have shown to families forced to flee Ukraine.

It’s hard to believe that it has already been six months since the sudden escalation of the international armed conflict in Ukraine forced millions of children, women and men to flee their homes in search of safety.

But since the start of this humanitarian crisis, across the UK, people like you have stepped up and responded with kindness, compassion and solidarity.

Witnessing the incredible outpouring of support has been both humbling and heart-warming. Today I am writing to express my warmest thanks and to share how your generosity is making a difference.

Six months since this war began, thanks to your donations UNHCR teams are continuing to deliver life-saving support across Ukraine and neighbouring countries. In Ukraine itself, even with the security risks, humanitarian convoys are still getting through to hard to reach areas.

Thanks to the kind support of people like you, UNHCR has been able to drastically ramp up its emergency response across the region – reaching millions of refugees and displaced families with lifesaving assistance.

As of August, your support has helped:

  • Reach 1.6 million people inside Ukraine with lifesaving essentials, including cash, blankets, cooking sets, nappies and toiletries
  • Support over 850,000 people with emergency cash assistance, both inside Ukraine and in neighbouring countries, so they can buy the essentials they need to survive
  • Support more than 700,000 people in Ukraine with essential food and non-food items, winter clothes and shelter materials
  • Assist over 480,000 people in Ukraine with critical protection services, legal advice and referrals at border crossing points, reception centres and through telephone hotlines
  • Create 89,000 sleeping places for people in need of safety and shelter, across Ukraine
  • Reach 138,000 people with lifesaving assistance through over 170 humanitarian convoys delivered to the most remote and hard-hit areas within Ukraine
  • Establish 35 Blue Dot safe spaces, protection and support hubs in Bulgaria, Hungary, Italy, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, where families can access information and practical support, including access to clean water, WiFi, group childcare services and mental health support.

But our work is far from over. Winters in Ukraine are brutal. Having somewhere warm, safe and dignified to stay will be lifesaving for many families.

With your support, UNHCR is stepping up its preparations for winter to help displaced families protect themselves and their children against the freezing cold and snow.

We don’t know what the future holds for millions of refugees and displaced people forced to flee by the war in Ukraine. With no end to the war in sight, the winter months will be very difficult, and we will need your support more than ever. Sustained support is needed for refugees, internally displaced people and their local host communities, as long as the war continues, and people remain displaced.

To protect people living in war-damaged areas from the harsh winter, UNHCR will provide thermal blankets, winter clothes, and other emergency winter supplies, shelter repairs for damaged homes and support to collective centres, as well as cash assistance to help families pay for increased energy and heating costs.

Together, UNHCR teams on the ground will stay and deliver to help families forced to flee, for as long as they are needed.

Amidst the terrible suffering and constantly rising humanitarian needs due to ongoing hostilities, your continued kindness is providing some comfort and hope for families in need. Thank you for standing with people forced to flee and communities so generously hosting them.


To learn more about the Ukraine humanitarian crisis, please visit our website. 

To donate to help Ukrainian families forced to flee, visit this page.


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