Thursday, April 18, 2024

Ukraine two years on – DEC appeal reaches 6.9 million people affected by the conflict thanks to British donations

THE Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) today announced that generous UK donations to its Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal have allowed its member charities and their local partners to reach 6.9 million people* affected by the conflict in two years. 

Two years on from the escalation of the conflict in Ukraine, the DEC’s appeal has raised £426 million, including £25 million matched by the UK Government through the Aid Match scheme. This makes the DEC the largest charity donor to the humanitarian response (according to UN figures) and represents the equivalent of £6.35 from every person in the UK. 

DEC charities have provided food, clean water, shelter support, cash payments, healthcare, mental health support, winter and hygiene items and much more. As well as delivering aid directly, they have worked with a network of local organisations, helping them scale up their response. 

The majority of aid spending (58%) has been focused inside Ukraine, with funds also being spent to help refugees in Poland, Romania, Moldova and Hungary. 

As the conflict has worn on, the humanitarian crisis has continued to evolve. DEC charities have responded to each new development in Ukraine, for example by moving into newly accessible areas to provide aid to those in need when the frontline has shifted, keeping people safe and warm last winter as Ukraine’s power infrastructure was attacked, and helping people forced to flee when the Kakhovka dam was breached in June 2023. 

Recently, DEC charities have particularly focused on providing people in need with cash payments to allow them to buy what they need, and a large-scale project similar to the UK Government’s ‘Homes for Ukraine’ scheme, where people in Ukraine are provided with cash payments to help with the cost of hosting people displaced from other parts of the country. 

However, the crisis is far from over and providing basic essentials also remains a priority with 450,000 people receiving food assistance, and half a million people benefitting from repairs to water and sewage systems in the year to September 2023, thanks to donations to the appeal. 

Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the DEC, said: 

“Last year I visited Ukraine to meet some of the people being helped with the money that has been so generously donated by the British public. I met people like Polina**, a mum of three from Kharkiv, who had fled the fighting while pregnant.  

“To see that she was safe, with a place to stay, food and other items the family needed, thanks to donations from across the UK, was really heartwarming. And to know that she is just one among millions of people that our member charities have been able to reach through this appeal is just incredible.” 

Reflecting on the current situation in Ukraine, Father Vitaliy Novak, CEO of Depaul Ukraine, a local partner of DEC member charity CAFOD, said: 

“We thank God we are still here after two years of conflict and that our staff and volunteers are alive. What I see here is that the scale of the conflict in some ways, especially in Kharkiv and Odesa is even worse than at the beginning. 

“As an organisation we have learned a lot through these two years and met a lot of suffering people. We are still here because without us and without what we do it will be worse for many of our people. 

“We will not leave the people who we serve. This is our motivation; to continue with the humanitarian aid and to continue to help people as much as possible. The DEC’s support, not only financial but the sharing of knowledge and sharing of experience, has been vital for us.”  

Agnieszka Kosowicz, President of the Board at Polish Migration Forum, a local partner of Plan International in Poland, said: 
“Two years after having to flee their homes, and still with no sign of when they may be able to return, the psychological needs of Ukrainian refugee children and adolescents in Poland have never been higher. With families split up, young Ukrainians continue to feel alone, isolated and distressed – especially the 150,000 who do not attend school. Losing access to education is a daily reality for children who are forced to flee their homes, but DEC funding has been crucial for helping us improve school enrolment for young Ukrainians in Poland.” 

“Being able to go to school is essential for the mental health of young people impacted by war and crisis, so getting children and adolescents back into education – both in person in Poland and online in Ukraine – has been a key part of how Plan International has been supporting Ukrainian children over the last two years. The continued generosity of DEC funding will enable us to keep providing our crucial psychological support to young Ukrainian refugees.” 

Scott Lea, International Rescue Committee’s Country Director in Ukraine, said: 

“Thanks to funds from the DEC’s Ukraine Appeal, the IRC have been able to rapidly provide timely cash distributions to sustain and empower families throughout the conflict – reaching almost 20,000 vulnerable households across Odesa, Mykolaiv, and Kherson by January 2024. Cash assistance affords people the dignity and choice to buy exactly what they need, when they need it – whether it be food, medicine, or other essentials. 

“This vital support would not be possible without the generosity of the UK public, and the IRC and our fellow DEC agencies remain extremely grateful for their incredible compassion and solidarity with the people of Ukraine.” 

Detail on the DEC-funded response 

Of the £426 million appeal total, £128 million has been raised by the DEC’s member charities. The DEC does not report on this income. 

Of the £298 million that has been raised directly by the DEC, a total of £199 million had been spent on aid delivery by August 2023, half way through the planned response, which is set to end in January 2025.  

Of the £199 million spent by August 2023, 58% had been spent in Ukraine, 19% in Poland, 24% in Romania, 6% in Moldova, 1% in Hungary and 2% on regional initiatives. 

The £199 million spent by August 2023 has meant that DEC charities and their local partners have been able to help 6.9 million people*, with many more reached by DEC charities using funds raised directly. 

For exampole, in the first six months of the response (March-August 2022), DEC charities used DEC funds to  provide: 

1.9 million people with access to clean water  

392,000 people with food assistance, including hot meals and food parcels  

338,000 people with cash payments to meet their basic needs   

127,000 people with basic services at transit centres for the displaced  

71,000 people with primary healthcare services  

114,000 people with legal help and support  

10,000 people with temporary accommodation  

In the following year, between September 2022 and August 2023, they also used DEC funds to provide: 

260,000 hosts with cash assistance to help provide accommodation to 722,000 internally displaced people  

510,000 people with improved access to water and sanitation services due to repairs to water and sewage systems 

451,000 people with food assistance, food baskets and hot meals  

157,000 people with hygiene kits containing items such as toothbrushes and toothpaste, soap, shampoo and toilet paper   

150,000 people with cash payments or vouchers 

125,000 people with mental health and psychosocial support  

84,900 children with education support including language courses and educational trips  

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