A ribbon representing the flag of Ukraine - Photo courtesy of Aljazeera
Tue, 19/08/2014 - 18:40

Caritas Ukraine faces increasing challenges as the humanitarian situation in eastern oblasts of Ukraine continues to deteriorate.

The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) reports that “As of 13 August the number of displaced increased to 155,800 while more than 188,000 people have fled eastern Ukraine to seek refuge in Russian Federation.” 

"Such circumstances oblige Caritas Ukraine to use all possible efforts to assist people in east oblasts of Ukraine, the same as those who were forced to move to the Western part of Ukraine for safety reasons,” says Andrij Waskowycz, President of Caritas Ukraine.


Presence across the country

Caritas Ukraine is implementing 5 large-scale assistance projects across the country to respond to the needs of:

  • Over 2200 wounded during the EuroMaidan protests. 
  • The families of the 167 killed people during the EuroMaidan protests and of the 32 missing people since then.
  • The over 2000 displaced from Crimea
  • An ever increasing amount of displaced and victims of the military operations in Eastern Ukraine. 


Focus on medical treatments

This assistance is very much focusing on medical treatment, both physical and psychological. Notably:

  • Medical treatment and rehabilitation of wounded. 
  • Medical, social and material assistance to victims and families of the deceased during the EuroMaidan protests.
  • Psychotherapeutic assistance to victims and witnesses of the violence during the mass protests 
  • Psychotherapeutic assistance to victims and witnesses of war operations in Eastern oblasts. 
  • Care for the displaced persons from Crimea and Eastern oblasts of Ukraine.
  • Response to the humanitarian crisis in Eastern Ukraine (new program was launched in August).


Crimean displaced: struggling with emotions and harsh economic reality

“All in all, we have 2028 people registered in Caritas Ukraine database. 1356 people have received food assistance; 1395 non-food items and 482 housing,” informs Hryhoriy Seleshchuk, Caritas Ukraine’s coordinator of the work with displaced people when talking about the displaced from Crimea.

The people from Crimea are quite different from the population in west Ukraine. Historically and religiously. For many of them leaving their homes to move to other parts of the country is considered as a very difficult decision. A sad decision. Along with the emotional struggle, they also have to face the harsh economic reality in which Ukraine is today. Finding a new job or any state help will require time and energy.  Maria – a woman who moved from Crimea and is receiving assistance from Caritas Khmelnytskiy – shares her story:

'If our relatives in Crimea don’t need us, why should other people here accept us?' internally displaced person and client from Caritas Khmelnytskiy - Photo: Caritas Ukraine

“Only three of us came here – two children and I. My parents stayed in Crimea. We decided to leave our home because it was dreadful to stay there. Now we have moved to an unfamiliar city, unknown people, without our ordinary things. I thought that we wouldn’t be needed here. But we are grateful for all provided help.”


Eastern oblasts: People in need and the chill of the winter approaching

The situation in the eastern oblasts is creating an ever increasing streaming of refugees that try to escape the areas of combat. The fightings in Eastern Ukraine have killed some 1543 and wounded 4396 since mid-April up to 7 August. And according to the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, since mid-April some 465 persons are reported missing.

In Slovyansk, a city hard-hit by the violence that belongs to the oblast of Donestk, Caritas Ukraine has provided over 100 tons of drinking water. Moreover, starting from September Caritas Ukraine will help to restore safe and dignified life for people affected by the armed conflict in Slovyansk and the surrounding area by providing glass and insulating glass units and repairing or replacing broken windows of the most vulnerable categories of the population and two kindergartens. In general, it is planned to assist 4000 household residents and 200-400 children.

Unfortunately, staying in the eastern oblasts is very dangerous for Caritas' staff.  “The big danger for all humanitarian workers is that there’s fighting there, and going in means to risk being shot," says Andrij Waskowycz.


The weather factor: another challenge to take into account

As the conflict seems to be long-lived, the biggest challenge that Caritas Ukraine is facing now is finding adequate shelter for all the displaced people to stay during the cold months of autumn and winter. Due to the ever increasing flow of people fleeing the areas of combat in the eastern oblats and the unpredictability of the conflict, Caritas Ukraine has difficulties in giving final estimations about the amount of shelters that would be needed.   

"We are working very hard to find shelters for everyone. This conflict is becoming a humanitarian crisis and Caritas Ukraine appreciate the generosity of partners and donors from the global Caritas family who are helping us to serve the people in need in these hard times for our country,’ says Andrij Waskowycz.


Support the work of Caritas Ukraine

Everyone who is willing to support the work of Caritas Ukraine for can make a donation via:

Bank: KREDOBANK (Address: vul. Sakharova, 78, 79026 Lviv, Ukraine) 
Account number: 2600801913626. 
Account holder: International Charitable Foundation "Caritas Ukraine" 

Correspondent bankKBC Bank N.V. Brussels, Belgium 
Account number480-9589677-71
*please note that while transferring money it has to be marked as: Charitable Donation for ICF "Caritas Ukraine"


For more information, contact

In Kiev
Nadiya Chorna-Bokhniak
Public Relations Manager
Caritas Ukraine
+38 044 67 60 80
+38 099 090 23 55

in Brussels
Alain Rodriguez
Communication Officer
Caritas Europa
+32 478 58 54 37
+32 2 235 26 54