Ukraine Latest

After eight years, the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has escalated into a full-blown war, threatening to become Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since World War II.  

We are supporting Caritas Ukraine and other Caritas agencies who are currently on the ground providing displaced families with emergency food, water, shelter and psychological support. You can help the people of Ukraine by donating to the Caritas Australia Ukraine Appeal.

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We will continue to share regular updates here from our partners on the ground in and around Ukraine.


Caritas Australia is proud to be a founding member of the Emergency Action Alliance. The Emergency Action Alliance is a collective of Australian based aid organisations that uses its reach and resources to save lives around the world. Together, we raise more money, for greater impact.

Update 11th April

Rodina fled Kyiv with her two grandchildren at the request of their father when the bombing became unbearable. After staying overnight in Lviv, her son drove them to the border before saying goodbye and going back to fight in the war. It was hard for the children to say goodbye.  

Rodina walked with her grandchildren the last few kilometres to the border, and stood in the freezing cold for three hours until they could cross the border at Dorohusk. They got food at the border crossing and some child seats to make the rest of the journey to Warsaw, where the children’s mother lives.  

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Rodina with her grandchildren at the border. Photo: Philip Spalek/Caritas Germany.

One of the agencies responding to families like Rodina and her grandchildren is Caritas Poland. So far, Caritas Poland has been providing emergency assistance such as food, water, shelter support and information through their Tents of Hope program at the border areas of Przemysl, Zosin, Hrebenne, Lubaczow, and Dorohusk.  

As the conflict continues, Caritas Poland have identified that families and individuals need cash distributions so that they can buy what they need most, as needs vary wildly.   

Caritas Poland is working to develop a cash transfer for one month for individuals and families in need for approximately 50,000 families in association with UNHCR.  

Caritas Poland is also working to deliver food and other basic goods across the border to Caritas agencies Caritas Ukraine and Caritas Spes to help alleviate the shortages of food and other essential goods in Ukraine. 

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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Update 4th April

As reports of war crimes emerge from the conflict, fears about civilians in Chernihiv, Mariupol and Sumy increase.  

Although some humanitarian convoys have been delivered to communities in need, the humanitarian situation in Chernihiv and Mariupol continues to deteriorate. Water and food shortages continue, putting millions of people at risk.  

Attacks on health facilities continue to be a grave concern. According to the WHO, there have been at least 82 verified attacks on health facilities since February 24. This, combined with the switch to emergency work means that some hospitals no longer offer routine services. Most civilians try to go to air raid shelters immediately after the air raid sirens go off, which means that routine consultations have gone down. Some bomb shelters even have fungal spores, which makes chronic conditions or protracted illnesses like pneumonia, kidney infections and severe allergies worse.  

"Before the war, I worked as the manager of projects for children, and now I am responsible for provision of humanitarian assistance for Internally Displaced People. In these conditions, I really feel how much we help and how strong we have become."

Natalia

Caritas Ukraine, Kolomyia office, employee

All Caritas Ukraine offices across the country in Ukraine are involved in the response – and where they have been closed due to active hostilities the evacuated staff are supporting other Caritas offices.  

So far, Caritas Ukraine has reached over 318,000 people.  

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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Update 1st April

The future was too uncertain for Khalina, who waited a few days for the war to end quickly before realising that there was no end in sight. She decided to flee to Poland with her daughters Alexandra and Veronika, to join her eldest daughter, Irena, where she is studying in Lublin. They were lucky to have family in Poland.  

At the border, they were caught in a massive queue. It was cold, only the car heater could keep them warm. Standing still, they consumed enough petrol for about 300 kilometres in just 24 hours. The hours at the border were energy-sapping. An acquaintance who was travelling with them suffered a heart attack in the car. Tragically, she died just as she was trying to escape to safety and medical care in Poland.  

Khalina finds it hard not to be in Ukraine, but she knows that she is lucky to be safe. In the meantime, she and her daughters have found shelter with a Polish friend near Przemyśl because she wants to stay near the border. She waits and uses the time to volunteer with Caritas, translating for refugees, organising sleeping places, and providing information with the onward journey and for medical emergencies. 

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Khalina providing support at the border. Photo Phillip Spalek/Caritas Germany.

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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Update 31st March

As the conflict deepens, food has become a serious issue.  

A recent report from the World Food Programme (WFP) found that food is one of the top three concerns for people impacted by the conflict, and around 45 per cent of people are worried about getting enough food.  

The entire food system in Ukraine is falling apart, as food reserves dwindle, transport lines are limited and warehouses are increasingly under attack. Fuel shortages and the scarcity of available drivers and trucks has made getting food around the country increasingly difficult, and major ports, railways and airports have been impacted by fighting.  

Recent reports indicate that a food warehouse in Brovary on the outskirts of Kyiv – one of the largest warehouses in Europe - was recently attacked, which will only further exacerbate the food supply issues in Ukraine.  

These challenges are on top of the already devastating consequences that cities like the long-besieged Mariupol are facing, with food and water reserves running dangerously low. No humanitarian aid has been allowed into the city since it was first encircled on 24 February.  

Caritas Ukraine continues to deliver food to people in need across the country. Over 89,000 food baskets have been distributed so far, and hot meals are prepared daily in Caritas shelters across the country for families that have been forced from their homes. Over the past weeks Caritas Ukraine has increased the amount of food in the baskets to address the rapidly escalating need on the ground.  

Caritas Volunteer Unpacking Goods In Chernivtsi. Photo Caritas Ukraine (1)
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Caritas Volunteer Unpacking Goods In Chernivtsi. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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Update 28th March 

In Moldova, Caritas agencies are on the ground responding to Ukrainians who have fled the invasion.  

The UN reports over 370,000 Ukrainians have crossed the border into Moldova, the poorest country in Europe and home to only 2.6 million people. Nearly half of the refugees who have gone to Moldova have remained in the country, putting significant stress on the existing infrastructure. 

Needs include the following: 

  • transportation,  
  • shelter, 
  • food,  
  • water & hygiene, 
  • psychosocial support, 
  • referrals to other services. 
A Young Boy Who Has Fled The Bombing In Odessa, Ukraine At The Palanca Border Crossing. Photo Marijn Fidder, Caritas Germany. 2
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A Young Boy Who Has Fled The Bombing In Odessa, Ukraine At The Palanca Border Crossing. Photo: Marijn Fidder/ Caritas Germany.

Caritas Moldova is responding on the ground to the arrival of Ukrainian refugees, particularly around the capital Chișinău.  

Caritas Moldova is providing the following services: 

Safe transport from borders and to services

Support to help transport families from border areas and government crisis centers to shelter and other support services.  

Safe, protected spaces for temporary shelter accommodation

Safe, warm shelters equipped with mattresses, bedding, and blankets for sleeping, and partitioned areas for privacy. 

Food and hygiene support for residents of temporary shelters

Daily hot meals, clean drinking water, hygiene and basic essentials including soap, shampoo, toothbrush, toothpaste, women’s hygiene products, nappies, clothing and shoes.  

Facilitating safe and secure longer-term shelters

Support to identify vacant apartments and hosting arrangements for refugees by providing a subsidy to landlords and hosts for three months.  

Psychosocial support

Providing psychosocial support through social workers and psychologists.  

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 25th March

Viktoria and her two children have temporarily moved into two of the 80 Caritas beds set up in the gymnasium of an Elementary School in Przemyśl. They've pushed the beds together to form a double bed.

In Mykolaiv, they heard the rockets. The air alarm sounded daily. When they went to get food, it hissed in the sky. They threw themselves on the ground, not knowing where the rocket would hit. They spent the first days of the war in a bomb shelter. Then a bridge near their house was destroyed. Viktoria still has the images on her phone. She fled to get her children to safety, but her husband had to stay behind.

They spent over twenty hours crowded together on a train to Lviv, with about 1000 other people. They slept, sat and lay everywhere. One could hardly move.

Once she reached Przemyśl she found accommodation through Caritas volunteers. The children found some distraction. She does not want to go too far away from the Ukrainian border and from her husband.

She is receiving support from Caritas Poland, one of the Caritas agencies supporting the many Ukrainians who have had to flee their homes. 

Viktoria with her child after crossing the border to Poland. Photo Philip Spalek/Caritas Germany.
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Viktoria with her child after crossing the border to Poland. Photo: Philip Spalek/Caritas Germany.

Caritas Poland are providing:

Shelter assistance through Caritas facilities or vetted homestays

Free food distributions

Free sleeping bags, mattresses and other necessary goods

Reception and protection of unaccompanied children

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 24th March

In just one month of war, there have been 64 verified attacks on health care facilities. This is close to 2-3 attacks per day. This is not just a violation of international humanitarian law, but a devastating attack on key infrastructure that Ukrainians need to survive the war, and to build back again afterwards. 

Alarmingly, close to 1000 health facilities are close to active conflict zones. These facilities have had to switch over to care for the wounded, often in communities and health facilities that are not designed to handle such a large number of acute traumatic injuries. Many health workers are unable to work or have had to flee their homes themselves. 

This means that essential services, primary health care, and support for those with chronic conditions have almost stopped. In addition, the dangers of travelling to hospital mean that people will avoid going, and may experience complications that could have been avoided with prompt treatment in normal times. COVID-19 vaccination and other routine lifesaving immunisations have also come to a halt.  

The targeted attacks on hospitals and key infrastructure in Ukraine will have devastating impacts on the population for years to come. But it is already having grave consequences for the elderly and those living with disabilities, many of whom are trapped in their homes and limited in their ability to access health care for chronic illness. 

Caritas Volunteer Unpacking Goods In Chernivtsi. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Caritas Volunteer Unpacking Goods In Chernivtsi. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.

Caritas Ukraine has a wide-reaching and longstanding home health care program targeted towards the elderly, those living with disabilities and those with chronic illnesses. Where possible the program continues to deliver:

Food kits and hot lunches

Hygiene kits

 

 

Social worker case management

Emergency supplies to citizens hiding from active shelling

“It's a beautiful ministry carrying care and love into people’s lives, into people's hearts. When I first started the job I took time to visit all of the centres. One of the things I felt was the strength we have in our local centres, the strength you have when you serve other people in love. It’s what’s holding everybody together now.”

Tetiana Stawnychy

President of Caritas Ukraine

Hear from the President of Caritas Ukraine, Tetiana Stawnychy on ABC RN Breakfast yesterday talking about Caritas Ukraine’s response to the crisis, how they’re reaching the elderly and disabled, and how they keep hope in these dark times.  

In addition, Caritas Ukraine continues to provide support to the health care system through convoys of humanitarian assistance to hospitals – with medicines, detergents, cleaning products, personal hygiene products, baby food and other basic items to hospitals. 

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 21st March

Now in its fourth week, the conflict continues to force enormous numbers of people from their homes - nearly a quarter of the total population have either fled to a nieghbouring country or to safer regions in Ukraine.  

Russian and Ukrainian forces continue to battle over the besieged eastern port city of Mariupol. Russian forces have set a deadline of 5 am Moscow time for Ukrainian forces to lay down their arms and said that it would provide a humanitarian corridor out of the city if the deadline is met – which Ukraine has rejected.  

Caritas Ukraine and its local partners are on the ground providing urgent support to displaced people.

One of the greatest strengths of the Caritas network is that there is a Caritas office in every region across the country, so the different offices are able to work together to make sure that goods and support go to where it is most needed.  

"We are aware of our brotherhood between Caritas offices, which are all now at the frontline. We are trying to send regularly big parts of the aid we receive to Caritas Kharkiv and Caritas Kyiv. We have already sent them several carriages with food kits, hygiene products, bed linen, that is, everything they ask for. We need to help all those who are suffering because of the war."

Volodymyr Chorniy

Director of Caritas Ukraine's Ivano-Frankivsk branch

Activities For Displaced Children In Ivano Frankivsk. Photo Caritas Ukraine 2
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Activities For Displaced Children In Ivano-Frankivsk. Photo Caritas Ukraine.
Temporary Shelter For Displaced People In Ivano Frankivsk. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Temporary Shelter For Displaced People In Ivano-Frankivsk. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.
Emergency Food Supplies For Displaced People In Ivano Frankivsk. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Emergency Food Supplies For Displaced People In Ivano-Frankivsk. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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Update 20th March 

Now in its fourth week, the war in Ukraine continues have a devastating effect on civilians across the country. The UN estimates that around 9.8 million people have now fled Ukraine or are internally displaced, accounting for more than 23% of the country’s population. 

The situation in the besieged city in Mariupol continues to deteriorate. Mariupol’s City Council reports that around 80 per cent of the city’s housing has been affected by ongoing hostilities, with nearly 30 per cent estimated to be damaged beyond the point of repair. 

Caritas Ukraine and its local partners are on the ground providing urgent support to displaced people. Since the beginning of the conflict, Caritas Ukraine has assisted more than 102,000 people. 

More than 32,920 food baskets and 17,844 hygienic sets have been distributed 

Caritas Ukraine is providing up to 1400 people a day with emergency shelter 

Caritas Ukraine and its local offices have sent 280 tons of cargo to conflict-affected areas

Caritas Ukraine Is On The Ground Providing Urgent Support To Communities In Kamianske
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Caritas Ukraine is on the ground providing urgent support to communities in Kamianske. Photo: Caritas Ukraine

 Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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Update - 19th March

“We need to help each other in this terrifying situation. Images in social media – all the videos as testimonies of the conflict – show the real thing. Something has to be done to stop this tragedy.”

Zlata

When the war began, Zlata, a photographer from Kyiv, was about to start a new job at a production company. The coming Monday was supposed to be a new, promising day for her.  

On Wednesday, February 23rd, she visited her parents in her hometown Chernihiv and when she returned to Kyiv she felt a sense of anxiety that she couldn’t quite explain.  

At 5am the next morning, she awoke to an explosion. She went online to find news about what was going on, but the internet was still silent. Ten minutes later, a friend wrote to her that the war was starting. The news was devastating, even more so since Zlata’s home was on the road to Boryspil, a route leading to the west of Ukraine.  

When she looked out the window, thirty minutes after the first explosions, there was already a line of cars ready to leave Kyiv. Zlata’s brother was the one to call her to pack up and go to one of the largest metro stations in the city – Pochaina. Her family stayed behind in Chernihiv, trying to hide from the war.  

Her hometown is still experiencing air raids, and people are trying to seek shelter. In Poland, Zlata will be staying with friends, and searching for work; if she’s lucky, maybe even as a photographer, but she said she’s willing to take on any employment – she wants to support her family, who stayed behind, and the Ukrainian army, fighting for her country.  

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Assistance to woman at Ukraine-Poland border. Photo: Caritas Poland

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 18th March

Hostilities continue in many areas around the country, with numerous cities and towns around Kyiv impacted, with mass destruction of critical infrastructure. Some towns have been completely cut off from communications lines, or the gas supply, leaving people without heating or hot meals in freezing winter temperatures. 

One of the concerns during this conflict is the impact on children. Ukraine has one of the largest numbers of children in institutional care in the world, with around half of this number also living with disability. A large number of the children living in institutional care are not orphaned, however they are at extremely high risk of human trafficking without protection. 

Caritas Spes is on the ground providing temporary shelter and housing, food, essential goods and support for the most vulnerable, including children and the elderly. In the past 24 hours, Caritas Spes has reached over 8,500 people with temporary shelter in the Caritas Spes shelters, food, essential goods or childcare and case management for families in need.  

Prior to the invasion, Caritas Spes already ran 22 foster homes throughout the country, and they have been providing safe transportation of the children in their care from eastern Ukraine to western Ukraine. Caritas Spes has also organised Child-Friendly Spaces where children can play sports and do therapeutic arts and crafts to help cope with the psychological stress caused by the conflict. 

Hear from the Father Vyacheslav Grynevych, the Director of Caritas Spes 

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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Update 17th March 

An astonishing 1.5 million children have fled Ukraine, which is close to one per second, according to the International Organization for Migration (IOM). Children are especially vulnerable to human trafficking, particularly as they arrive to new countries where they will generally not have any networks to draw on.

"Caritas Ukraine is supporting women and children crossing the border into neighbouring countries like Poland, Slovakia and Hungary, to try to prevent human trafficking. Right now, there is a very high risk that people might become a human slave."

Vladyslav Shelokov

Caritas Ukraine’s Resource Mobilisation Director

“More than 230,000 Ukrainians have been the victims of human trafficking since 1991, when Ukraine gained independence. We are now distributing information and advice on how to avoid this.” 

The leaflets and other materials outline key guidelines such as information about not handing over identification documents to the person who is offering accommodation and registering where they stay with local authorities.  

A Children's Drawing With The Word 'Kindness'. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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A child's drawing with the word 'kindness'. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.

“We are also providing support to internally displaced people, such as temporary shelters for people who have fled their homes, particular in cities close to the contact line where there is a high risk of violence. The Caritas offices in these cities are supporting people with food parcels and hygiene kits, and helping to support the large number of people with small children.  

“Baby food and formula are a real challenge, because there are limited stocks on shelves and it is even challenging for us to find them and deliver them to areas in need.” 

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Stocks of baby food for displaced families in Ternopil, Ukraine. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.

“We are also organising hot meals, drinking water and other necessary things like warm clothes for internally displaced people. People are leaving their homes with almost no additional clothes for themselves, and the temperatures are really low here. Before it was minus 4, now it’s minus 8 degrees. It is a really big problem for people to stay warm in premises which are not normally for accommodation.” 

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 16th March

Despite the recent evacuation of at least 160 cars of civilians from the besieged city of Mariupol, the convoy of urgently needed relief goods is still stuck outside the city.  

The convoy of urgently needed relief goods is still stuck outside Mariupol, however most recent reports indicate that it is now on the way and should reach the city in the coming days.  

“The longer the convoy is stuck outside of Mariupol, the more people are at risk of hunger and illness,” said Kirsty Robertson, Caritas Australia’s CEO. 

“Because of the repeated shelling, our partner, Caritas Ukraine, hasn’t been able to deliver relief goods like water, food or hygiene kits. It’s not the only organisation that has its hands tied in supporting vulnerable people on the ground when a city is inaccessible.” 

“It just goes to show how absolutely vital it is to keep these humanitarian corridors open during conflict. Without them, even organisations like Caritas Ukraine with decades of experience in coordinating shipments of relief goods, are struggling to get relief goods to where they are most needed.” 

Kirsty Robertson

Caritas Australia's CEO

One of the key activities for Caritas Ukraine is to respond to the huge numbers of families who have fled their homes by providing shelter and food. The majority of the local Caritas Ukraine offices have reformatted their regular activities to concentrate mostly on these needs – although some offices continue to deliver support through a mobile healthcare program to the elderly and those living with disabilities.  

Where possible, local Caritas offices provide housing both for people who have had to leave their homes but prefer to stay in Ukraine, and those who are on the way to the borders to find shelter in a neighbouring country.  

Currently, Caritas Ukraine supports up to 1,300 individuals a day with temporary shelter though the Caritas Ukraine offices across the country. In addition, more than 1,200 people receive hot lunches in Caritas offices every day – including on weekends.  

Since the beginning of the conflict, Caritas Ukraine has assisted more than 70,000 people across the country. 

Volunteers Hard At Work Coordinating Distribution Of Medicine And Food In Zaporizhzhia. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Volunteers Hard At Work Coordinating Distribution Of Medicine And Food In Zaporizhzhia. Photo Caritas Ukraine

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 15th March

As fighting rages on in Ukraine, the civilian toll continues to climb.  

Despite the recent evacuation of a small number of civilians from Mariupol, there is still concern that the approximately 400,000 civilians left trapped in the city cannot be left much longer without urgent humanitarian aid.  

Since Russian troops surrounded the city on March 2, the city has been left with dwindling access to water, food and medicine. Heat, phone services, and in many areas, electricity have been cut, leaving hundreds of thousands of people without running water or heating in temperatures below freezing.  

Previous attempts to establish corridors to allow civilians to evacuate and humanitarian goods to reach those trapped in the city have fallen apart as ceasefires were unsuccessful. A humanitarian convoy has been stuck outside the city, however most recent reports indicate that it is now on the way and should reach Mariupol in the coming days if the ceasefire agreement is held to. 

Caritas Ukraine is working through local Church networks to facilitate the delivery of urgently needed humanitarian goods to Caritas offices in regions impacted by conflict, including Ivano-Frankivsk, Krynychne, Drohobych, Kherson and a village close to Mariupol. 

Since the beginning of the conflict, Caritas Ukraine and Caritas Spes have assisted more than 60,000 persons with food, hygiene kits, clean water, psychological support, and emergency shelter to displaced families.  

“People gather at six in the morning outside the Caritas office for support. We ask them to come at ten o'clock, but they are here queuing from early in the morning to be able to get some help. So, we must work from six in the morning to avoid crowds,” said Iryna Boyko, Caritas Kyiv humanitarian aid coordinator. 

"Unfortunately, we can't help everyone, although we receive tons of humanitarian cargo every day. Trains come in the middle of the night, and our volunteers unload them. We’re so thankful for the volunteers who deliver the goods to where they’re needed, or who cook hot lunches for people who have fled their homes. A lot of help is needed. And it will be even more necessary when everyone starts coming back here, home.”

Iryna Boyko

Caritas Kyiv Humanitarian Aid Coordinator

Sandwiches And Hot Drinks For Ukrainians Who Have Fled The Conflict In Dohobrych, On The Ukrainian Polish Border. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Sandwiches And Hot Drinks For Ukrainians Who Have Fled The Conflict In Dohobrych, On The Ukrainian Polish Border. Photo Caritas Ukraine

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 14th March

The human and socio-economic costs of the ongoing hostilities continue to mount, worsening with each passing day as scores of homes, schools, hospitals and other critical buildings and infrastructure have been hit by military attacks. 

The situation in Mariupol remains dire as the city remains surrounded by Russian forces and effectively cut off from humanitarian aid. Mariupol's city administration confirmed on Sunday night that a large convoy of humanitarian aid that they had been waiting on had still not arrived, and was stuck in Berdyansk, around 70 kilometres west. The city of Berdyansk is currently held by Russia. 

The ongoing besiegement of Mariupol is having devastating consequences on the 400,000 civilians who are still trapped in the city. People are in desperate need of clean water, food, medicines and other basic goods. The repeated shelling by Russian forces – with 22 attacks reported by the city on Sunday alone - has destroyed key water infrastructure, leaving many people without access to drinking water. 

It is hoped that the aid convoy will make it Mariupol tomorrow.  

Food Distribution In Odessa. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Food Distribution In Odessa. Photo Caritas Ukraine.

However, Ukraine's Deputy Prime Minister Iryna Vereshchuk has reported that nine of the 14 humanitarian corridors that have been declared have allowed civilians to escape, and a total of 5,000 people have been safely rescued.  

Caritas Ukraine and Caritas Spes are continuing their humanitarian assistance where it is safe to do so. Caritas Spes alone has reached 10,738 people over the past 24 hours. This includes emergency shelters, food, medicines, warm clothes and shoes, clean drinking water and hygiene items. Protection is a big focus for Caritas Spes, and they have also continued to provide vital protection for children and vulnerable adults – including childcare, social worker case management, and more.  

Caritas Ukraine Staff Sorting Urgent Aid Distributions In Ternopil. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Caritas Ukraine Staff Sorting Urgent Aid Distributions In Ternopil. Photo Caritas Ukraine

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 13th March

Evacuations of civilians continue, and the Government of Ukraine says more than 100,000 people have been evacuated in recent days. In addition, urgently needed humanitarian supplies, such as food and medicine have gone to regions where humanitarian corridors have been observed.  

However, in Mariupol, the safe passage corridor is still delayed. There have been reports of looting and violence in the city over the little basic goods left. Medicines for life-threatening illnesses have nearly run out, and food and water supplies are critically low.  

Since the beginning of the conflict, Caritas Ukraine has reached 56,544 persons with humanitarian aid, averaging 4440 people a day last week. Over 14,396 food kits and 11,829 hygiene kits have been distributed.  

Some Caritas Ukraine offices have also started to provide specialized assistance, such as the office in Ivano-Frankivsk which has brought on board a specialist to communicate using sign language for displaced people who have hearing challenges.  

 

Emergency Shelter For Ukrainians Who Have Fled The Conflict In Dohobrych, On The Ukrainian Polish Border. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Emergency Shelter For Ukrainians Who Have Fled The Conflict In Dohobrych, On The Ukrainian Polish Border. Photo Caritas Ukraine.
Children Making Peace Doves As Part Of An Activity For Displaced Families In Dnipro. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Children Making Peace Doves As Part Of An Activity For Displaced Families In Dnipro. Photo Caritas Ukraine

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 12th March

Hear from Inna, a civil servant who has fled the war in Ukraine, leaving behind her parents, brother and husband.

"At first, I couldn’t believe that there’s a war. But then you open your Instagram and you realize that your country is being bombarded and it’s going on right next to your home.”

Inna

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 11th March

Evacuations via humanitarian corridors have begun in the north-eastern city of Sumy. Early reports indicate there continue to be issues with evacuations of the cities of Bucha, Gostomel and Mariupol. 

Despite the ongoing challenges to get humanitarian aid to where it is needed, Caritas Ukraine and Caritas Spes staff and volunteers continue to facilitate the delivery of extraordinary amounts of humanitarian aid in the form of food, hygiene items, blankets, medicine and much more.  

Recent deliveries of goods have gone to cities in need, including Poltava, Ivano-Frankisk, Kyiv, Kharkiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Irpin, and Mariupol. Two generous contributions were made from Ukrainian Catholics in Germany and Italy.  

Caritas Australia is supporting our long-term partner on the ground, Caritas Ukraine, and their local partner Caritas Spes to carry out these activities. Since the outbreak of the conflict, Caritas Spes has reached an impressive 38,100 people. In the past 24 hours alone, 15,000 people have received at least one of the following: housing, food, safe drinking water, and other essential goods. 

Medicine Being Packed For Distribution To Hospitals In Zaporizhzhia. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Medicine Being Packed For Distribution To Hospitals In Zaporizhzhia. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.

“We are currently working in several areas. We meet people at the station who either come to us or travel further through our city, talk, provide advice on various issues, including logistics, how to get to the border. We welcome people here at Caritas, where people can rest, get food, use social laundry services and, very importantly, have a spiritual conversation, because this is a good time to ...trust in God who gives victory and true peace.”

Fr. Lubomyr Ivanochko

Head of Chernivtsi office of Caritas Ukraine

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 10th March

The Ukrainian city of Mariupol is still being shelled, despite efforts to set up a humanitarian corridor to get the 400,000 residents to safety.  

According to the Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba, there are nearly 3,000 newborn babies who currently lack medicine and food in Mariupol. 

Shockingly, Russian bombs have completely destroyed a children’s and maternity hospital in Mariupol. It is estimated that 17 people have been wounded from the attack, with some children left buried in rubble. Some of those injured included women in labour. 

Although it is unclear if the attack was targeted, the ongoing destruction of homes and vital infrastructure over the past days will make seeking healthcare even tougher for the beleaguered citizens, especially for expecting mothers, people living with disability and elderly people who are limited in their movements. 

Attacks on health infrastructure are particularly worrying as they destroy what little capacity is left to treat urgent cases. If a woman has complications in childbirth, or somebody is hit by shrapnel, the healthcare workers will struggle to be able to respond appropriately in time.  

As of midnight 7 March 2022, OHCHR reports at least 1,424 civilian casualties, including 516 killed, although it is believed that real figures are considerably higher.  More than 2.1 million people have fled Ukraine since 24 February, according to UNHCR – mostly women, girls and boys. 

Basball Courts In Mariupol Used To Store Goods To Distribute To Trapped Civilians. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Baseball Courts in Mariupol used to store goods to distribute to trapped civilians last week. This team has since evacuated. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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Update 9th March 

The situation in Ukraine continues to deteriorate, with numerous cities still under intense shelling despite ongoing efforts to coordinate a humanitarian corridor. Although the number of people fleeing conflict has slowed somewhat, the massive influx of displaced people in western Ukraine and neighbouring countries is already overwhelming existing response capacities. The figures of Ukrainians who have fled to safety in neighbouring countries continues to increase, now reaching at least 2 million people in total, with many more still stuck in Ukraine. 

Humanitarian assistance convoys have been sent to Kyiv, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia with food, baby food, nappies, medicine, hygiene products, clean water, clothes, mattresses, bedding and other essentials. In Kyiv, approximately five tons of humanitarian aid are delivered to vulnerable families from the central railway station daily since March 3. 

An online psychosocial support platform has been created in partnership with other NGOs. Three hundred people have already signed up to the platform and these numbers are increasing daily. 

Supplies On Their Way To Vulnerable People From The Central Railway Station In Kyiv. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Humanitarian supplies at the Central Railway station in Kyiv, on their way to besieged families across the city. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 8th March

The humanitarian crisis in Ukraine is deepening, with a number of cities coming under intense shelling. According to reports, a third round of peace talks between Ukraine and Russia has concluded with some developments relating to potential humanitarian corridors, although it is unclear yet whether this will enable aid to be delivered to people living in the besieged cities or allow civilians to escape the fighting.  

Since the conflict began, Caritas-Spes Ukraine has supported more than 2,937 people (including 1,035 children) with requests for first-aid, food and hygiene necessities. They have also assisted 3,127 people with accommodation, including more than 807 children. Children in close proximity to shelling to have been evacuated to church facilities in the west of Ukraine.  

The UNHCR reports that more than 1.7 million refugees have now fled Ukraine. 

Caritas Poland Is Helping Support Refugees From Ukraine
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Caritas Poland is providing humanitarian support to refugees from Ukraine. Photo: Philipp Spalek/Caritas Poland

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 7th March

The safe passage of civilians from Ukraine’s besieged eastern port city of Mariupol has been postponed again for the second day. Humanitarian corridors are urgently needed to relocate people whose lives are at risk and provide life-saving supplies, including food, water and medicine, to people who have been cut off from assistance.  

According to UNHCR, over 1,368,864 people have now fled to neighbouring countries, including half a million children. The majority have gone to Poland, followed by Hungary, and Moldova.  

Civilian casualties continue to rise with at least 1,123 civilian casualties recorded, including 364 deaths (ONCHR). The real figure is likely to be much higher as civilian deaths and injuries continue to be verified. 

Volunteers continue to form the backbone of Caritas Ukraine’s humanitarian response, generously contributing hours of their time to help overwhelmed staff reach massive numbers of people who have been forced from their homes by shelling and attacks. In Kolomiyya, volunteers are cooking meals, building temporary accommodation and delivering basic goods to families. 

The night shelter can accommodate about 70 people thanks to the team led by local entrepreneur Ivan. He and his assistants arranged everything in two days. They installed heating, plumbing, painted the walls and found benefactors who provided free beds, bed linen, mattresses. Everything was done so "super-fast" that the team was nicknamed "shelter heroes".

Caritas Ukraine staff

Video update from Caritas Kolomiyya, part of Caritas Ukraine. 

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 6th March

In some regions, the situation has settled slightly. Supermarkets have begun to open in large cities not under attack, and the queues at the border have slowed. However, because many ATMs are no longer functioning, people across the country are struggling to withdraw money – including pensions – in order to buy basic necessities.

Caritas centres across Ukraine are reporting that although the numbers of internally displaced people are slowing, the second wave is more vulnerable then the first wave, arriving with less items and cash for their trip. The cities Sumy, Kharkiv, Mariupol and Kherson in particular are in need of basic supplies. Of particular concern for Caritas Ukraine and Caritas Spes staff are the large numbers of vulnerable children and elderly people that are trapped in conflict zones, with limited options to be safely evacuated. These vulnerable groups are now living through heavy bombardment and artillery fire, and heavily reliant on aid organisations to provide ongoing food, shelter and basic services.

Humanitarian corridors are desperately needed to enable humanitarian workers to get vital goods, including medicine, to people stuck in conflict zones and also enable civilians to escape to safety. Russia has agreed to a partial ceasefire to provide humanitarian corridors for the Ukrainian cities of Mariupol and Volnovakha.

 

Caritas Ukraine provides the local hospitals with vital supplies during shortages due to the war. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.
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Caritas Ukraine provides the local hospitals with vital supplies during shortages due to the war. Photo: Caritas Ukraine.

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 5th March

The fire at the nuclear power plant in Zaporizhzhia – not far from a Caritas Ukraine reception centre - has now been extinguished.  

Thousands of refugees from Ukraine continue to make their way across to Poland, with many waiting more than 60 hours to cross the border due to the large volume of people. Caritas Ukraine and its local partners are providing first aid to people as they wait to cross the border.  

The United Nations estimates that as many as 4 million refugees could make their way across Poland, Moldova, Hungary and other neighbouring countries over the coming weeks. So far, the equivalent of more than 142,000 people per day have fled the country. 

Ukrainian refugees fleeing to safety at Ukraine-Poland border.
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Ukrainian refugees fleeing to safety at Ukraine-Poland border. Photo: Caritas Poland

Caritas Poland have set up Tents of Hope at the border areas of Przemysl, Zosin, Hrebenne, Lubaczow, and Dorohusk so that refugees can rest and access hot meals and blankets. Local churches in Poland are also coordinating to provide accommodation to orphans and children from Ukraine. 

Dominika Chylewska from Caritas Poland provides an update from one of the border crossings. 

An update on the situation on the ground near the border to Ukraine from Dominika Chylewska, Communications Manager at Caritas Poland. 

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - 4th March 

Heavy fighting and shelling continue across several towns and cities in Ukraine, with a number of civilian infrastructure damaged in the attacks. In Zhytomyr, the regional perinatal center and a hospital were hit, while a hospital was destroyed in Vasylivka, Zaporizhzia Oblast.  

After heavy shelling in Zaporizhzhia the nuclear power plant is now on fire – the largest in Europe. The nuclear power plant is not far from one of Caritas Ukraine’s reception centres with food, hygiene and hygiene items. 

Caritas Ukraine and its local partners are currently providing humanitarian assistance to hospitals through the supply of hygiene products, food and other essentials.  

Children in Ukrainian residential institutions are at particularly high risk of physical harm and psychological trauma during this conflict. With the support of Caritas Ukraine, children in foster care in Kramatorsk have now been evacuated to safe accommodation. Food has also been delivered to more than 100 orphans and IDP (Internally Displaced People) educators.  

At one of the centres, Caritas Ukraine staff and volunteers help children paint as a way to cope with the trauma of the ongoing conflict. 

Therapeutic Art Classes With Children Evacuated From A Foster Home In A Conflict Zone. Photo Caritas Ukraine
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Therapeutic art classes with children evacuated from a foster home in a conflict zone. Photo Caritas Ukraine

In Odessa and Kharkov, shelters have been set up for people to hide from bombings. Caritas Ukraine and its local partners have prepared 48 food packages and 50 hot meals for people in the shelters.

Caritas Ukraine these days is doing everything possible and even sometimes impossible to assist and support people who suffer because of war.

Odarka Bordun, Communications Manager at Caritas Ukraine

An update on the situation in Ukraine from Odarka Bordun, Communications Manager at Caritas Ukraine.

Our partner organisation, Caritas Ukraine, is on the ground helping people with emergency food, water, shelter and hygiene support. Donate now to help the people of Ukraine during this humanitarian emergency.

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UPDATE - March 3rd  

Fighting continues across Ukraine, with reports that multiple cities have come under intense shelling. Damage and destruction to civilian infrastructure are impeding people’s access to water, food, healthcare and other basic services.  

There have been at least 752 civilian casualties, according to UNOHCHR, although it is believed that real figures are considerably higher.   

According to the UNHCR, more than 870,000 people have crossed the Ukrainian border in the past week, mostly women and children. At least 100,000 people are internally displaced, meaning they have had to flee their homes, but are unable to make the journey to the border, although these figures have not yet been confirmed   

In parts of eastern Ukraine, the people fleeing conflict are trying to escape through one of the most mine-contaminated regions in the world, risking death and injury as they flee. 

Ukrainian refugees fleeing to safety at Ukraine-Poland border.
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Ukrainian refugees fleeing to safety at Ukraine-Poland border. Photo: Caritas Poland

Caritas Ukraine emergency response  

Caritas Ukraine and its local partner, Caritas Spes, are currently supporting internally displaced people with food, clothing and psychological support. So far, an estimated 2,000 internally displaced people, mostly women and children, have received emergency accommodation, food and medicine. 

As air raids continue to rain bombs over residential areas, Caritas Ukraine has been setting up refuge shelters with food and medicine. In Lviv and Zakarpattia Oblast, emergency accommodation has been set up, with capacity to house 2,500 women and children. 

Caritas Ukraine and its partners are also providing food for refugees at border crossings, supporting more than 1,000 people every day.  

Distributing Food In Ukraine
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Volunteers serving food to displaced people in Ukraine.

The situation in Ukraine is very difficult. The occupier is destroying our cities, kindergartens, private houses. But the aggressor is not able to destroy our aspirations for peace and freedom. We would like to assure you that we all courageously continue to help people.

Father Vyacheslav Grynevych, Director of Caritas Spes Ukraine

Father Vyacheslav Grynevych, Director of Caritas Spes Ukraine, provides an update on the situation in Ukraine.