Urgent humanitarian support needed for those unable to evacuate in Ukraine

Although it is unclear if the attack was targeted, the ongoing destruction of homes and vital infrastructure over the past days has made life in Mariupol even tougher, especially for those who are unable to travel elsewhere.  

“This attack on the hospital is a stark and tragic reminder of how some of the most innocent, even newborn babies, are impacted by the horrors of war,” said Melville Fernandez, Caritas Australia’s Humanitarian Emergencies Associate Director.   

“It also reminds us of an element of this crisis that many are forgetting: although the massive displacement of over two million Ukrainians is devastating, with a population of over 44 million, the vast majority is still left in the country.”  

“This crisis is considered the ‘oldest in the world’ - roughly one in four people in Ukraine are over 60 years old, and according to a recent survey by HelpAge international, this demographic does not want to be evacuated from their homes, but nine out of ten need help getting food, and one third need medication for chronic diseases.”  

“In 2021, United Nations surveys showed that 2.7 million people were registered with disabilities. This gives us a vulnerable and relatively immobile population quite literally in the line of fire.”  

“We’re working with our long-term partner, Caritas Ukraine, who are responding to cases in Ukraine for the people who can’t leave – whether because of a disability, or their age, or because they simply don’t have the funds to get to the border. They're implementing a wide range of activities to get to people, working through the local Church network to coordinate dioceses, parishes and volunteers across the country in its humanitarian response.”  

“In Kyiv, Kharkiv and Zaporizhzhia distributions of food and other supplies including water, baby food, nappies, mattresses, bedding and medicine have been coordinated to vulnerable people sheltering from the attacks in basements under the city and those in transit or sheltering at home. In Kyiv, approximately five tons of humanitarian aid have been distributed daily from the central railway station daily since March 3.” 

Caritas Australia is working directly with Caritas Ukraine and its local partner Caritas Spes to support Ukrainian families with food, hygiene kits, clean water, psychological support, and emergency shelter to displaced families.  

Donations can be made at: www.caritas.org.au/ukraine/ 


Media contact: Jessica Stone 0490 684 867 /  jessica.stone@caritas.org.au   

Note: Kirsty Robertson, Caritas Australia’s CEO is available for interview.