Humanitarian conditions in Ukraine remain grave two years into the conflict

A Caritas worker making firewood deliveries as part of winterisation efforts in Ukraine in 2024. Photo Credit: Caritas Wien, Elisabeth Sellmeier.

The 24th of February 2024 marks the two-year anniversary of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. To date 6.3 million people have been displaced overseas with a further 3.7 million displaced within Ukraine. There have been 29,731 civilian casualties including over 10,000 deaths, and 14.6 million people now need humanitarian assistance. 

Homes, schools, vital infrastructure, and hospitals have continued to be damaged throughout the past year while local farmers struggle to cultivate their lands due to the heavy contamination of explosive remnants of war and the heavy presence of landmines. 

The East and South of Ukraine form the frontline of this conflict where millions are struggling with inadequate access to water, food, health, housing, protection, and other essential services and supplies. In the Central and Western regions of Ukraine, many internally displaced people are dependent on humanitarian aid as they seek to re-establish themselves in new communities. 

The Caritas Australia Ukraine Crisis Appeal has supported Caritas partners in Ukraine and Moldova as they help millions of Ukrainian people in need, both within Ukraine and overseas in countries like Moldova. 

This support has included repairs to homes, housing, and accommodation, education services, psychosocial support, and multi-purpose cash assistance for those who have lost their livelihoods, as well as essential goods such as water, food, clothes, hygiene kits and medicine. 

Sally Thomas, Humanitarian Emergencies Lead at Caritas Australia said; “In the short-term, we are expecting further deterioration of humanitarian conditions if hostilities persist and especially if attacks on energy and other infrastructure remain a feature of this war. Ukraine is also deep into its winter, where temperatures drop as low as -5 degrees Celsius, making winterisation an ongoing focus. 

“In the longer-term the widespread impact of this war on civilians is also creating a legacy of mental and physical trauma that is particularly impactful on the development and wellbeing of children. Our partners on the ground are also telling us that the war has compounded pre-existing inequalities and challenges faced by women and marginalised groups, as well as increasing the risk of gender-based violence.”