CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis

by CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort)
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis
CORE Ukrainian Refugee Crisis


Since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, over 7.4 million Ukrainians have fled and 7 million are internally displaced within the country. Humanitarian needs across the region are concentrated around securing adequate shelter, food and basic goods, health care (including mental health and psychosocial support), financial assistance, and work opportunities. Considering that over 90% of the population that has fled are women and children, there are strong gender-specific needs related to childcare, child-protection, and women’s sexual and reproductive health.

CORE's Ukraine Crisis Response launched on February 28 and covers Ukraine, Poland, and Romania. In the first seven months of the response, we have built strong partnerships with local organizations and governments working to address the needs of refugees, internally displaced people and conflict-affected communities. While the migration flows stabilized over the summer, with winter approaching a potential new wave of displacement is considered a strong possibility if heating systems in Ukraine falter or fail in October and November 2022. CORE is preparing to further scale its response to address seasonal and evolving needs in addition to its current programming in the region.

CORE's Response & Impact

CORE is running a multi-faceted, community-driven response in Ukraine, Poland, and Romania with the objective of filling the gaps to provide for the unmet and pressing needs of the most vulnerable Ukraine refugees and displaced people in the region. CORE’s programming is currently focused on the following implementation areas:

  • Cash: CORE has provided $795,000 of lifesaving cash assistance to Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced people in the region (as of September 1, 2022), enabling families to make priority purchases including food, clothing, healthcare, shelter, or transportation. CORE partners with Mastercard/EML Payments to provide three monthly transfers on reloadable cash cards.
  • Shelter: CORE is supporting collective shelters and working to increase the available stock of individual housing geared towards displaced families. In Poland, CORE partners with local actors to run a network of 11 shelters, providing operational support, capacity building on gender-based violence and humanitarian standards for shelter managers, paid work opportunities within the shelters for refugees, coordination of childcare and mental health and psychosocial support services, as well as food and basic goods distribution to residents. CORE is also building 33 units for refugee families in the town of Przemysl near the border with Ukraine. In Ternopil, Ukraine, CORE oversaw the refurbishment of a local hospital to house 60 internally displaced people and recently launched a weatherization pilot of 10 units of housing for families. CORE also provided $100,000 in non-food items to outfit 31 units in Lviv with furniture and appliances. In Romania, CORE supports shelters with direct implementation and grants for food and non-food items distributions.
  • Food & Non-food items:Recent waves of Ukrainians fleeing violence have fewer resources than in the early months of the crisis and area less connected to family and friends in their place of settlement. Within shelters and in areas in Ukraine where markets are not strong enough to support cash assistance, CORE is distributing food, basic goods, and winter supplies (such as winter clothing, blankets, and heating fuels) to ensure families are able to maintain adequate nutrition, hygiene, and prepare for the winter months ahead.
  • Local Partner Grants: CORE supports local NGO organizations in Ukraine, Poland, and Romania through funding to implement programs that directly address the needs of Ukrainian refugees and IDPs, including organizations that are refugee and IDP-led. We prioritize local partners that serve the most vulnerable among those who have been displaced – especially the elderly, disabled, ethnic minorities (Roma), and LGBTQ+ community. Since April 2022, CORE has given out over $2.4 million through more than 70 grants to local organizations across its service area.
  • Gender-Related Activities: Women and children are at the center of CORE's response to the Ukraine Crisis. CORE is partnering with gender experts VOICE and InterSOS in Poland to guarantee the safety and security of women and girl refugees in CORE-supported shelters and ensure our service delivery is gender sensitive. Our shelter network provides mental health services and assistance to prevent and respond to gender-based violence. In Romania, CORE funds grants to local partners that provide access to sexual and reproductive health services for Ukrainian women and distribute vital information on local resources related to women’s rights in Romania and addressing GBV and human trafficking to Ukrainians as they enter the country.
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War in Ukraine has resulted in at least 4,302 civilian deaths and an additional 5,217 civilian injuries, as of June 8, 2022 (midnight, local time), according to the UNHCR. Actual figures are believed to be considerably higher, particularly as reports of information from areas of heavy ongoing conflict – including the Donetsk, Kharkiv, and Luhansk regions – still pend confirmation. Over 15.7 million people are in urgent need of humanitarian aid, according to estimates from the UN and humanitarian partners.

Damage and destruction to residential areas and civilian infrastructure serves as a major obstacle to people accessing essential resources, such as water and food, as well as healthcare and other critical services. Many civilians in Ukraine are sheltering without basic aid and unable to be reached or evacuated safely. Additionally, unexploded ordnance poses major peril to civilians, as nearly half of Ukraine requires demining due to the ongoing military conflict, according to SESU.

As of June 9, 2022, nearly 7.3 million border crossings from Ukraine have been recorded since war activities commenced on February 24, 2022, according to UNHCR, resulting in the largest refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. A total of 4.8 million refugees have been recorded across Europe, 3.2 million of whom have registered for protective status in Europe. Of the Ukrainian diaspora, 2.3 million people have returned to Ukraine, though this does not indicate a long-term return to the country as volatile conditions persist.

More than 8 million Ukrainians (18% of total population) are currently internally displaced according to recent estimates from the International Organization for Migration (IOM). According to REACH, constant displacement of families and movement of internally displaced people (IDPs) has created significant challenge in acquiring accurate data on IDPs and their needs, limiting the effectiveness of humanitarian assistance.



CORE is working with international and local partners to address the urgent humanitarian needs of those affected by the war in Ukraine, with operations in Poland, Romania, and Ukraine. Its current activities include:

  • Working in border towns to provide Ukrainian refugees who have fled to Poland and Romania with cash assistance to help them get access to essential items, such as food, water, and safe transit to shelter.
  • Providing emergency relief supplies, including hygiene kits, as well as medication and other essential resources to meet basic needs.
  • Supporting community-based refugee centers with supplies and institutional support to help them continue aiding refugees and improve living situations.
  • Supporting mental health and protection services for refugees, targeting women and children.
  • Assessing evolving needs of Ukrainian refugees, identifying CORE’s further engagement with relevant partners.
  • Partnering with collective shelters in Ukraine to provide IDPs with critical resources, including food, water, essential resources, and cash assistance.


  • CORE has committed $240,000 in flexible cash assistance in Poland. Beneficiaries are provided this assistance primarily through direct distribution at informal shelters.
  • $91,000 has been distributed already, to date.
  • 621 beneficiaries served; 95% of households are women-led
  • Commitment includes pledged refills of cash cards, in partnership with Mastercard and EML
  • At the end of April, CORE supported local initiative Soup for Ukraine’s social integration event in Krakow with 1,000 people, offering joint dialogue workshops for Polish and Ukrainian children, food workshops and food distribution for Ukrainian refugees, and more activities.
  • CORE staff supported a total of 2,102 refugees at train stations in Poland throughout April.


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Organization Information

CORE (Community Organized Relief Effort)

Location: Los Angeles, CA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @coreresponse
Project Leader:
Lauren Bentley
Los Angeles, CA United States
$86,494 raised of $100,000 goal
237 donations
$13,506 to go
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