Conflict between armed groups and Ukrainian forces in eastern Ukraine has affected millions of people since fighting began there in April 2014. Now the escalating conflict will mean that many more people will require humanitarian assistance. International Medical Corps and our Ukraine team have taken immediate measures to ensure the safety of staff in the country and are preparing to deploy mobile medical teams; mental health and psychosocial support services; and COVID-19 prevention services.
Humanitarian needs were already high in eastern Ukraine, where fighting began in 2014 - resulting in loss of life and livelihoods, displacement and a lack basic services. Coupled with a difficult economic situation that compounded people's suffering, almost 3 million Ukrainians are currently relying on humanitarian assistance to meet their most basic needs. With this Russian military action, the number will certainly rise, not just in eastern Ukraine, but throughout the country.
International Medical Corps and our Ukraine team have taken immediate measures to ensure the safety of staff in the country. We are preparing to deploy mobile medical teams, to provide essential emergency and primary health services; mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) services, which are critical for conflict-affected communities; and COVID-19 awareness and prevention services, to help keep displaced people safe from the pandemic.
International Medical Corps has significant experience in Ukraine. We worked in Ukraine from 1999-2000, delivering essential medicines to healthcare facilities and training more than 500 local doctors and medical staff. In 2014, we once again began providing health services, following the collapse of eastern Ukraine's health system in the midst of conflict. We understand the long-term health needs of the country well and will work with health authorities to build lasting solutions.