A group of 15 UK charities have today launched a joint fundraising appeal to help more than a million refugees fleeing Ukraine.
With the conflict continuing to rise and as the Russian invasion of Ukraine said to be “turning lives upside down”, the government-back group of charities – known as the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) – decided to club their efforts together to provide aid, with one member executive describing the situation as one of the most “heartbreaking [he] had ever seen”.
It is estimated up to four million people could flee Ukraine due to the conflict.
The DEC said that people fleeing the country are in desperate need of food, water, medical assistance and protection.
Many refugees are being forced into hiding to stay safe.
“The majority crossing the borders are women and children arriving with only what they can carry,” the DEC added.
The DEC’s 15 member charities are – Action Against Hunger, ActionAid UK, Age International, British Red Cross, CAFOD, CARE International UK, Christian Aid, Concern Worldwide UK, International Rescue Committee UK, Islamic Relief Worldwide, Oxfam GB, Plan International UK, Save the Children UK, Tearfund, and World Vision UK.
At present, 13 of the DEC member organisations are said to be responding in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries to the Russian invasion, according to the committee.
Giving an insight into the current situation from the perspective of someone on the ground, Andrew Morley – chief executive of World Vision International, who has recently returned from Siret on the Romanian border – explained: “We support children in countless crises across the world, including those I have recently visited such as Syria and the DRC, but I have never seen a more heartbreaking situation.
“All the children I met were crossing the border in tears, with pain and fear in their eyes.
“They were lost and scared.
“They need the basics, simple, practical help [and while] our staff have been present in this area for decades and there on the ground to deliver it, we need financial support to do this.”
Appeals for public donations to the committee – which was first announced by Prime Minister Boris Johnson during PMQs yesterday – will be broadcast on various UK news channels over the coming weeks, with every pound donated by the British public set to be matched by the government up to the value of £20 million.
“Time and time again the British people have proved responsive and generous when confronted with a global emergency,” Boris Johnson said.
“And so I have no doubt that millions will support this vital appeal.”
Foreign Secretary Liz Truss added: “The UK stands with people fleeing this terrible conflict and we are working with our humanitarian partners to provide for those in need in Ukraine and the wider region in their hour of need.
“Through the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal, we will match, pound for pound, up to £20 million of donations from the Great British public, ensuring vital support reaches communities in desperate need of help.”
You can find more information and donate via the DEC here.
Featured Image – Yehor Milohrodskyi (via Unsplash)