Nonprofits Scrambling To Help In Ukraine

Nonprofits big and small have been responding to the humanitarian crisis evolving after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the largest country-on-country attack that Europe has experienced since World War II.

The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) is launching an emergency operation to provide food assistance for civilians fleeing the conflict, calling for $570 millin for its portion of the emergency response.

GlobalGiving’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund had raised $2 million toward a goal of $5 million as of Monday afternoon.

Razom Ukraine, a small grassroots organization founded by Ukrainian-American volunteers in New York City during the 2013-14 “Revolution of Dignity” in Ukraine, expects to be able to deploy almost $2 million toward medical supplies.

Razom, which translates to “together” in English, has maintained an open emergency response project since the Russian invasion of eastern Ukraine in 2014, procuring medical and tactical supplies. “We picked up this project again in 2020 at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic to fundraise for, procure, and deliver medical supplies across COVID hot spots in Ukraine,” according to a blog post this morning.

As Russia began massing troops at Ukraine’s borders in recent months, Razom began actively promoting the emergency response fund on Feb. 18. Work is currently focused on purchasing tactical medical supplies, for critical situations like blood loss in the field, and medical supplies needed in hospitals. A logistics team is able to transport supplies from Warsaw, Poland, into Ukraine.

All of Razom’s fundraising efforts have been via social media and word of mouth. Since fundraising efforts began on Feb. 18 via Facebook, and people around the world launched independent fundraisers on Instagram, Razom reports raising more than $768,000 via social media but the funds will take as much as four weeks to transfer to their accounts.

Donations through Razom’s PayPal and bank accounts have raised more than $1 million since Feb. 18, with almost 15,000 donors contributing directly and average donations of less than $100. Razom expects to be able to deploy some $1. 8 million.

The small, grassroots organizations reported $115,000 in revenue for 2019, with net assets of $285,000, according to the most recent tax forms available on Candid.

Doctors Without Borders/Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) announced that it would halt activities, such as HIV care and improving health care access in eastern Ukraine and TB care in the central region of the country. MSF teams remain in Ukraine, however, as the charity seeks ways to adapt its response “as the conflict evolves.”

Since January 2021, Direct Relief has supplied Ukrainian healthcare providers with more than $27 million in medical aid and committed $500,000 to support health efforts in Ukraine and surrounding countries absorbing refugees fleeing violence and disruption. The Santa Barbara, Calif.-based charity was created out of the ashes of World War II by Europeans who fled, CEO Tom Tighe said.

Ukraine has the second-highest rates of HIV/AIDS in the region and TB is a major challenge with high percentages of drug-resistant TB (DR-TB), according to Direct Relief. The charity’s inventory includes IV fluids, antibiotics, medications for anesthesia, sutures and cardiovascular drugs. Earlier this month, a Direct Relief shipment of diabetes supplies arrived. Insulin and other cold chain medications are expected to be in short supply, with the Ukrainian Diabetes Foundation reporting some 15,000 children living with Type 1 diabetes in Ukraine.

Save the Children also has been working in Ukraine since 2014, delivering humanitarian aid to children and their families. The Fairfield, Conn.-based charity estimates there are at least 7.5 million children in Ukraine that are in danger of physical harm, severe emotional distress, and displacement. In Eastern Ukraine, more than 400,000 children live in areas at high risk of the direct impacts of the presence of soldiers and artillery, including being injured or killed by guns, landmines and explosive weapons, or being displaced from their homes. At least 100,000 of these children and their families are already known to have left their homes ahead of Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24 and are sheltering with friends, relatives and strangers, often in cramped conditions.

The Save the Children’s Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund supports humanitarian programs aiming to reach 3.5 million children and their families with immediate aid and recovery, such as food, water, hygiene kits, psychosocial support, safe spaces and cash assistance.

Since the start of the conflict in eastern Ukraine and the annexation of Crimea in 2014, Ukraine’s government reported some 1.5 million internally displaced persons, according to Americares in Stamford, Conn. A recent polio outbreak in Western Ukraine, and the health impacts of COVID-19, “are compounding challenges for an already fragile healthcare system.”