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IFRC Unveils Largest Financial Assistance Program for Ukraine

By Richard H. Levey

The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) is ramping up both its activities and fundraising efforts in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. During an upcoming two-year horizon, the organization’s response plan calls for 1.2 billion Swiss francs (roughly $1.27 billion US) in cash assistance, health care and water, sanitation and hygiene services and shelter and housing support.

In the long term, the IFRC’s efforts are expected to aid 3.6 million people with both financial and non-financial aid. Within the first three months of the crisis, the IRFC estimates it has provided aid to more than 1 million people.

The IFRC issued an emergency fundraising appeal for 550 million Swiss francs (roughly $582 million US) to help with its efforts. As of mid-day April 18, the organization had raised 92.1 million Swiss francs ($97.5 million US). The end date of the appeal is Feb. 29, 2024.

Both amounts reflect increases in funding from the IRFC’s preliminary appeals. An appeal launched at the end of February 2022 initially sought 100 million Swiss francs ($106 million US) in emergency fundraising as part of an anticipated need of 500 million Swiss francs ($529 million US).

The organization is not waiting for donations to come in before taking action. It is already providing support in the form of more than 1,800 metric tonnes (just under 2,000 tons) of blankets, food, hygiene and kitchen items, mats and tarpaulins throughout the afflicted area.

In what the organization describes as “its largest emergency financial assistance programme to date,” the organization anticipates aiding more than 2 million people, with an initial goal of 360,000 individuals in Ukraine and neighboring countries within the first three months. According to the IFRC’s appeal document, “continued cash assistance will be provided to over two million people in what is intended to be the IFRC’s most extensive ever emergency cash programme.”

“Our number one priority is getting support to people who are most vulnerable,” Jagan Chapagain, Secretary General of the IFRC said in a statement. “From our previous experience with cash assistance, we know it is a dignified approach to providing aid as quickly and efficiently as possible. While financial assistance is a major component of our response, we’re also scaling up across many other sectors including health. We have already reached 160,000 people with healthcare and first aid support, but the longer the conflict continues, the more extensive the health needs will become.”

Donations can be made here: https://www.ifrc.org/emergency/ukraine-and-impacted-countries

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