Supporting refugees on Ukrainian borders

by IsraAID
Supporting refugees on Ukrainian borders

IsraAID’s Emergency Response team arrived in Moldova on February 27, just three days after the large-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, and immediately launched our response to the growing refugee crisis. Within weeks, we expanded operations to Romania in order to provide aid directly into southern Ukraine, and recently began working in Ukraine itself. Six months into the crisis, 15.7 million people face significant humanitarian needs.1 IsraAID is meeting urgent needs immediately at the same time as planning for the long-term recovery efforts that will be necessary in the years ahead.

IsraAID is opening two offices in Kyiv and Odesa and recruiting local staff to lead programs in Ukraine. IsraAID's senior management visited Ukraine and met with senior government and humanitarian coordination officials in July. We have delivered initial programs as follows, with more to come:

SAFE DRINKING WATER IN MYKOLAIV

IsraAID donated four reverse osmosis water desalination systems to the Mykolaiv municipality, after frequent attacks damaged local infrastructure and left residents without potable water for three months.2 The municipality adapted its system to access untreated river water from Pivdennyi Bugh, but this was unsafe for cooking and drinking. The new systems produce safe drinking water and were purchased locally, helping to stimulate the economy. The donation was attended by the Deputy Mayor and featured on local news. IsraAID is now working to upgrade existing infrastructure to accommodate these systems and planning the second phase of the project. We will provide additional systems and train municipal staff to operate them, so they can troubleshoot any issues independently.

LARGE-SCALE PSYCHOSOCIAL SUPPORT

During our assessment visit in Ukraine, IsraAID's experts ran MHPSS and self-care workshops for several groups of frontline workers, including social workers in Bucha, one of the worst-hit cities; 30 NGO staff and psychologists working in Odesa; and 12 staff from the Odesa-based Humanitarian Coordination Hub. This is the beginning of a close collaboration with the Office of the First Lady in Ukraine and the government to deliver large-scale mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS).

As part of the First Lady's initiative, we are working with the Ministry of Health to train a core team of 60 hospital-based psychologists in displacement and crisis, psychological first aid, self-care, and stress relief. The psychologists will then deploy to Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia -- cities on the frontlines -- and Vinnytsia, a city that has faced heavy bombardment and now takes in many wounded patients. The psychologists will provide urgent trauma relief and support longer-term hospital-based recovery for wounded and/or traumatized patients and their loved ones. IsraAID will accompany the psychologists with long-term professional support to ensure they also have the tools to protect their own mental well-being in this challenging environment.

PRIMARY HEALTHCARE IN HOTSPOTS

IsraAID is partnering with FRIDA, a Ukrainian-Israeli volunteer medical association, to reach civilians in urgent need of healthcare and MHPSS. Primary healthcare is often neglected amid conflict, but FRIDA provides both emergency and regular care in regions affected by fighting. Their services include diagnostics and medical evacuations as well as providing medication, and they are currently operating in Bucha, Dnipro, Irpin, Kyiv, Kharkiv, and Mykolayiv.

We have increased the capacity of FRIDA’s mobile clinics with $150,000 worth of medical equipment delivered through our humanitarian logistics hub, including ECG monitors, ultrasound machines, vital signs monitors, a defibrillator, respirators, and finger pulse oximeters. We will train FRIDA’s doctors to identify early indicators of malnutrition and other primary health concerns, and to maintain World Health Organization standards of medical storage and reporting. We will also deliver MHPSS training.

HUMANITARIAN LOGISTICS HUB IN ODESA

We are preparing to build a partnership with the Humanitarian Logistics Hub in Odesa. We will be able to contribute our expertise from Tulcea, Romania to streamline operations and expand procurement and reach. While our hub in Tulcea delivers to humanitarian organizations on the ground, such as shelters and hospitals, the hub in Odesa will focus on providing aid directly to communities and households in Odesa and Mykolaiv. We monitor the security situation closely and prepare contingency plans to protect our teams on the ground. All our programs in Ukraine are subject to change, depending on security assessments.

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It has now been three months since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022. More than 25% of Ukrainian civilians have fled their homes, with 6.3 million seeking refuge in neighboring countries, and an additional 8 million people displaced within Ukraine. Within Ukraine, essentials like food, medicine, and electricity are scarce.

Since February 27, our experts have been supporting Ukrainian refugees in Moldova with essential protection, education, healthcare, and relief items. We are active at Palanca, the main border crossing; in Chisinau, the Moldovan capital; and in rural villages where local communities are stretching their own limited resources to host refugees. In addition, with our partners, we are coordinating and managing the Tulcea Humanitarian Logistics Hub on the Romania-Ukraine border. IsraAID is ensuring that lifesaving humanitarian items, including food and medicine, make it directly into Ukraine and reach the most vulnerable people there.

 

Romania

Tulcea Humanitarian Logistics Hub

With our partners, IsraAID is coordinating and managing the Tulcea Humanitarian Logistics Hub to process and ship humanitarian aid to southern and eastern Ukraine. This region continues to face harsh bombardment with significant damage to civilian housing and infrastructure. We are working with a wide range of partners to procure essential items locally and globally, and collaborating with NGOs, hospitals, religious institutions, and civil society organizations in southern Ukraine itself to reach those most in need.

So far, we have shipped some $25 million worth of supplies. We sent power banks with the capacity to run medical equipment to a hospital in Mykolaiv, as electricity is unreliable due to heavy damage. Other hospitals, including a pediatric hospital in Odessa, have received supplies according to their needs, such as tourniquets. We also installed a stable, controlled cold-chain environment, and have begun shipping vital medicines that are in short supply, such as insulin.

 

Moldova

Protection

Refugees are still fleeing into Moldova, and IsraAID continues to provide a safe tent at the border. Newly arrived mothers can relax while their children play with local volunteers trained by our experts. We are also still providing essential items for new arrivals, including hygiene and first aid kits; stress relief packs for children; and baby kits.

IsraAID continues to operate our Child Friendly Spaces (CFSs) in the main shelter in Chisinau, offering children stability and support through arts and education. Additionally, as many refugees are now hosted in the community, we are also running CFSs in public spaces like libraries. Our trained facilitators also identify child protection concerns and refer cases to relevant welfare services, and we continue to support and strengthen the local authorities.

Supporting Host Communities

Many refugees in Moldova choose to stay close to the border as they anxiously await the chance to return home or receive news of loved ones still in Ukraine. Some 1,500 refugees are staying with local Moldovan families in Stefan Voda. These host families are themselves rural and economically vulnerable, so we are providing food and hygiene supplies to boost both refugees’ and hosts’ psychosocial wellbeing. We are also operating a weekly medical clinic for refugees and host community members.

'Helping the Helpers'

Practicing self-care and burnout prevention helps frontline workers harness their own personal strength and resilience amid difficult and demanding work so that they can continue to support refugees in the long term. This month, IsraAID provided training for the staff of CoTN/Greengate, an ecological alternative learning facility providing daily classes for Ukrainian children, and for volunteers from Keystone International, who are leading children's activities in our tent in Palanca.


As the fighting continues, IsraAID remains committed to supporting Ukrainians for years to come. Thank you for your ongoing support.

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Organization Information

IsraAID

Location: Tel Aviv, Merkaz - Israel
Website:
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @IsraAID
Project Leader:
Yotam Polizer
Tel Aviv, Merkaz Israel
$21,878 raised of $500,000 goal
 
59 donations
$478,122 to go
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