The People of Ukraine

The People of Ukraine

Project Report | Jun 30, 2023

By CARE's Writing Team | Emergency Response Writer


Destruction of dam displaces thousands as landmines float downstream


A critical dam on the frontline of the Ukraine conflict was destroyed on Tuesday, June 6, on the eve of an expected Ukrainian counter-offensive. Huge quantities of water surged downriver from the hydroelectric Kakhovka Dam, which holds back the Kakhovka reservoir on the Dnipro river, providing drinking water and electricity to the Dnipro, Kherson and Zaprozhzhia regions in Ukraine. The flooding has caused thousands of people to lose their homes overnight, and thousands more have lost access to basic services and drinking water. Along with the dam, the plant’s turbines and generators were destroyed. 

The release of water has fully or partially flooded 37 towns and villages. Ukrainian authorities have already moved some 1,900 people out of the risk zone, and are planning to evacuate a total of 16,000 people. U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres has called the breach a “monumental humanitarian, economic and ecological catastrophe,” lamenting that this is “yet another example of the horrible price of war on people.” 

The flooding is concentrated in an area that has been the site of intense fighting, raising concerns about landmines and other unexploded ordinance that may be floating in the river. One of the heavily affected communities is Kherson City, which is still recovering from heavy fighting in late 2022. A further concern is posed by the destruction of irrigation systems and agricultural water supplies in the midst of the growing season, with likely long-term consequences for food supplies. 

CARE’s Response

CARE immediately deployed a Rapid Response team, which is engaging with authorities and local partners to determine how we can best meet the urgent needs of families who live downstream of the dam. A second team, which will include technicians in areas such as shelter and water, sanitation and hygiene, was scheduled to take over on Thursday, June 8. Meanwhile, CARE partners from the charity organization Vostok-SOS have launched evacuation operations from Kherson to Mykolaiv. 

Based on identified needs, CARE’s plans include the provision of shelter kits, hygiene kits and access to safe water. An initial estimate indicates that CARE and our partners will need approximately $1.6 million for Phase 1 of our response. Financial resources are urgently required to ensure a timely and appropriate response. 

Given the magnitude of this crisis, we anticipate a two-phase response: the initial provision of lifesaving assistance, followed by cleaning and rehabilitation of housing and critical infrastructure in the coming weeks and months as the water slowly recedes. With your support, we can ensure the health, safety and dignity of affected families in the region.

“We are very worried about the catastrophic consequences this explosion could have on the environment. At least 150 tons of oil have been released into the Dnipro River with the risk of further leakage of more than 300 tons. CARE and our partners are responding quickly, but we need more financial assistance to help the most vulnerable and provide lifesaving equipment and aid.” -Fabrice Martin, Country Director of CARE Ukraine

Building on our ongoing response to the Ukraine conflict             

Our response to the Kakhovka dam collapse will broaden CARE’s large-scale work assisting families affected by more than 15 months of conflict in Ukraine. Since the onset of the conflict in February 2022, CARE has built a robust network of partners throughout Ukraine and neighboring countries to provide conflict-affected families with emergency help, while supporting them as they begin rebuilding their lives. We are committed to supporting local solutions and placing women and girls at the center of our emergency response. The majority of CARE’s funding for Ukraine has been channeled through our local partners, with CARE providing critical technical, administrative and programmatic support to organizations already on the ground to ensure that we reach the greatest number of people efficiently and effectively. To date, we have raised $120 million toward our goal of $150 million for humanitarian response to the Ukraine conflict – and we have reached more than a million people in Ukraine and neighboring countries.


An estimated 5.9 million people are internally displaced within Ukraine, with thousands of families staying in temporary collective centers set up in schools, gyms and churches. Often, these spaces are ill-equipped to provide safe and dignified long-term accommodation. Several of CARE’s partners work directly with the collective centers to ensure the safety, health and dignity of displaced people. Our holistic approach seeks to address the full range of a displaced person’s needs, including psychosocial support. According to the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, about 15 million Ukrainians will need psychological help in the next few years. Almost 90% of people who responded to a survey by the Ministry of Health responded that they have shown at least one sign of post-traumatic stress disorder. 

CARE works closely with a network of partners, most of which are Ukrainian-run organizations, including several that are led by women. Each partner brings its own set of expertise and resources that enrich the overall response. For example, Vostok SOS supports collective centers with furniture and appliances; the Ukrainian Women’s Fund provides psychosocial support for displaced people and traumatized volunteers; and Tyova Opora has been providing technical support and medical equipment for the Kyiv State Clinical Hospital. 

In conjunction with our partners CARE is also providing food and improved nutritional security; healthcare services through support for existing facilities as well as mobile clinics; improved access to water, sanitation and hygiene through distribution of hygiene kits, emergency water trucking and other related activities.


Poland has been the primary destination for the majority of Ukrainian refugees fleeing the conflict. CARE has partnered with Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM), ADRA Polska, Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH) and other organizations to reachUkrainians in Poland with interventions such as psychosocial support (including self-defense classes) to survivors of violence; as well as sexual and reproductive health services and/or support and protection for those affected by gender-based violence (GBV), thanks to partnerships with civil society organizations. CARE has provided food assistance as well as multipurpose cash – allowing families to choose what they need most – as well as livelihoods support, including legal and job counseling, translation of documents and registration for social assistance provided by Polish authorities. CARE’s partners support the integration of refugees in Polish society by offering language courses, housing, administrative assistance and referral paths for the most vulnerable. 

Alongside ADRA Polska and PAH, CARE has supported refugee centers across Poland. CARE’s support helps ensure that the shelters are dispersed throughout the country – not just concentrated along borders and in major cities – and that they make use of existing infrastructure. One example of this is Ukrainian House, a cultural center in the border town of Przemysl that turned into an impromptu consulate in the early days of the conflict with the support of CARE and PAH. 

Many Ukrainian children who are attending Polish schools struggle with language barriers, psychological distress and cultural integration. In response, CARE partnered with the PCPM to hire teachers and education staff to assist tens of thousands of children with primary school lessons. This program helps put the children at ease while providing livelihoods for refugee women and their families. 


CARE’s teams also are working with two organizations in Slovakia to provide protection and psychosocial support for Ukrainian refugees as they process trauma. EQUITA, a civil society organization that works closely with the Intervention Team of the Ministry of Health of the Slovak Republic, has been working with CARE to provide emergency mobile medical support and GBV protection and care along the border with Ukraine. CARE also has partnered with Italian organization HelpCode, which specializes in providing education and training for children with innovative, practical solutions that improve their physical and mental well-being. 


CARE targets Ukrainian refugees in Romania as well as affected people inside Ukraine through cross-border assistance, working with our longtime partner SERA and the Federation of Child Protection NGOs(a consortium of 80 organizations). Our activities have including delivering diapers and blankets at a key border crossing and training clinicians in emergency psychosocial support. As in Poland, CARE and our partners are making Romanian language classes available to promote refugee integration into host communities. In September 2022, a CARE survey of Ukrainian refugees found that their major concerns were livelihoods, access to healthcare and integration into Romanian society. 

In Moldova, CARE has established partnerships with three organizations with national reach and programs focused on disability inclusion and protection: Keystone Moldova, Women’s Law Center and Memoria. These organizations have been involved since the outset of the crisis and are well networked in Moldova. 


CARE’s team has distributed school starter kits to Ukrainian refugee children all over the country, and is working with six local organizations to enable eligible families to receive monthly multi-purpose cash assistance to help cover basic needs. CARE also works with specialized partners to address the needs of third-country nationals (such as non-Ukrainian citizens who were living in Ukraine but had to flee) and the LGBTQ+ community. For example, CARE works with the African Youth Enlightenment and Empowerment Association (AYEESSI e.V.) in Munich and Cagintua e.V. in Bad Belzig and Potsdam to ensure the rights of refugees coming from Africa. In Berlin, CARE works with VIE e.V. Casa Kuá to ensure the health and safety of the trans and queer community arriving from Ukraine.



An estimated 17.6 million people within Ukraine were already in need of humanitarian assistance after a year of conflict. The devastation of the Kakhovka dam collapse – already being called the largest technological disaster in Europe in decades – will only compound that suffering. Building on our already robust network in Ukraine and beyond, CARE will work with our partners to assist the most vulnerable people affected by this latest crisis, in addition to our ongoing work responding to conflict-displaced families in Ukraine and neighboring countries. We ask for your generous support as we rush to provide lifesaving aid.[1]


[1] To effectively manage the current emergency response and continue to be able to deploy resources for other emergencies, CARE will reserve 20% of donations to the Ukraine response to cover technical support, administration and emergency preparedness expenses, including the rapid deployment of staff to emergencies such as this one.


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Location: Atlanta, GA - USA
Facebook: Facebook Page
Twitter: @CARE
Project Leader:
Ashby Brown
Atlanta , GA United States

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