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In the weeks following the start of the conflict in Ukraine in February 2022, the humanitarian situation in the country exceeded even the worst-case scenarios predicted. Neighboring countries are seeing huge influxes of refugees, mostly women and children. More than 5.2 million people, 90% of whom are women and children, have left Ukraine in search of safety. The UN estimates that 18 million people will be affected by the conflict, including 7.7 million likely to be internally displaced. These figures are based on a volatile and rapidly changing situation on the ground, with people urgently seeking safety.
Even before the invasion, years of conflict in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions of eastern Ukraine had left 2.9 million people in need of humanitarian aid and displaced 1.5 million people from their homes. For Ukrainian refugees and internally displaced people, the most immediate needs are food, clean water, shelter and protection from violence, including gender-based violence. In addition to the ongoing conflict, other major challenges for displaced families include freezing weather, COVID-19 concerns, and access to health care, especially for women and the elderly.
Women and girls are particularly at risk in times of conflict and displacement, including through heightened risk of violence, exploitation, discrimination and limited access to life-saving health services.
Poland is a main destination for people fleeing the conflict, and the Polish government has set up reception centers and hospitals near crossing points on the 300-mile border. Romania hosted over 750,000 refugees. Other neighboring countries hosting refugees include Moldova, Hungary and Slovakia.
CHILDREN CHARITY launched a humanitarian appeal to support the most vulnerable Ukrainians, especially female-headed households and the elderly.
CHILDREN CHARITY responses will be regional and will leverage partnerships in affected countries to provide emergency assistance. In Poland, CARE works with Polish Humanitarian Action (PAH), Polish Center for International Aid (PCPM) and Ukrainian House. Our priority is to meet the immediate needs of affected families with the distribution of essential food and water, as well as hygiene kits, cash assistance and psychosocial support.
In Romania, CHILDREN CHARITY is working with long-time partner SERA, the Federation of Child Protection NGOs (FONPC) and the Red Cross to provide assistance to people fleeing Ukraine to Romania.