Russia’s invasion of Ukraine is causing a life-threatening humanitarian crisis and forcing people to flee the intensifying war. Here’s how you can support them.
Since Russia started a war in Ukraine on Feb. 24, the number of Ukraine’s refugees leaving their homes has reached 4 million. That’s nearly 10% of the country’s population of 44 million—and around half of the people fleeing are children.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees Filippo Grandi has described it as the fastest-growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. The UNHCR earlier predicted that as many as 4 million people could eventually flee Ukraine but said that projection could be revised upward.
As mothers, children, and others cross borders to seek safety in neighboring countries, here are five ways you can help:
1. Give cash.
Cash is the best way to help the 4 million refugees making arduous journeys and waiting at overwhelmed border crossings to escape Ukraine. Once they arrive in another country, they will have to find a way to meet their needs, which will vary from day to day. A cash donation to the GlobalGiving Ukraine Crisis Relief Fund will help local community-led organizations provide relief based on the needs of the people they serve.
2. Stay informed.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has a long history. Learn about the roots of the crisis and follow the latest developments from reputable news sources to counter disinformation about the war and Ukraine’s refugees. You can amplify the work of independent Ukrainian news outlets like The Kyiv Independent and journalists like Olha Konsevych. Or, consider helping the nonprofit Internews protect journalists risking their lives to provide accurate reports during the war in Ukraine.
3. Welcome Ukraine’s refugees.
Eight years of conflict in Ukraine left 1.5 million people internally displaced before the current Russian invasion. And now, among the 4 million people on the move from Ukraine are 5,000 refugees who fled conflicts in other countries, including Afghanistan and Syria. You can help them by donating to organizations like the International Rescue Committee that are providing humanitarian assistance in receiving countries or GlobalGiving’s Afghanistan Emergency Fund. If you live near Ukraine in Poland, Germany, Hungary, or Romania, you can offer to host a refugee in your home through Airbnb’s program to provide free short-term housing for up to 100,000 refugees from Ukraine.
4. Show your support for all refugees.
Black, brown, and other non-white individuals, including African-Ukrainians who live in Ukraine, are facing discrimination at border crossings. Many are reporting being turned away or made to wait for days as white Ukrainian refugees are given priority to cross into neighboring countries and receive life-saving food, shelter, and other aid.
Refugees who identify as LGBTQIA+ are also experiencing unequal treatment as they try to flee Ukraine. People from these communities already face higher day-to-day risks, and they aren’t always able to access the support they need. You can help nonprofits like Grupa Stonewall that are focusing on sheltering LGBTQIA+ individuals across Ukraine’s borders or Equal Chance, which is providing buses to ensure African and Black refugees have equal opportunity to make it out of Ukraine and access shelter and critical supplies like blankets and food.
5. Join the call to end the war and protect refugees from Ukraine.
Raise your voice in your community, country, or within your social network to help the millions of civilians suffering from the Russian invasion. Support calls to facilitate immigration from Ukraine and to find diplomatic and political solutions to end the war.
Help people fleeing war in Ukraine and searching for security.
Featured Photo: Emergency aid for people in Ukraine by Caritas Austria
Note: This article was originally publishing at 10:31 a.m. on March 9, 2022 and last updated at 8:00 a.m. on March 30, 2022.