Refugees fleeing from Ukraine arrive in Hungary

How to help people in Ukraine and refugees fleeing the conflict with Russia

Since Russia first launched its invasion of Ukraine on Feb. 24, at least 1 million people have fled Ukraine in search of safety, according to the United Nations’ refugee agency. More than 220 civilians have died thus far, including at least 15 children, according to U.N. numbers.

Ukrainians have sought safety in Poland, Hungary and Moldova, among other neighboring countries. Meanwhile, women and children who have been displaced within the country have taken shelter in subway tunnels and other secure areas to avoid Russian air strikes. On Thursday, Russia and Ukraine struck a tentative deal to establish corridors to allow civilians to safely leave cities under fire.

Before the conflict, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights (OCHA) estimated that 1.5 million people in Eastern Ukraine were food insecure and needed livelihood assistance in 2021 – a 51 percent increase compared to 2020. With so many uprooted from their communities and homes now, those numbers are predicted to skyrocket. Additionally, elderly Ukrainians made up 30 percent of people in need prior to the invasion.

WATCH: Two Ukrainian parents living amid war discuss the struggle to keep their families safe

As Ukrainians of all ages seek support both at home and abroad, several governments have stepped up to send military and humanitarian aid. Below, find just a few of the organizations and fundraisers that are working to get people critical supplies, assistance and funds.

Refugees fleeing from Ukraine arrive in Hungary

A woman walks as she flees from Ukraine on Feb. 25, 2022. Photo by REUTERS/Bernadett Szabo

How you can help

  • Donate to the Ukrainian Red Cross and the International Rescue Committee to help with on-site first aid and medical services.
  • Voices of Children provides emergency psychological assistance to affected Ukrainian children.
  • Sunflower of Peace has an ongoing fundraiser to prepare first aid tactical backpacks for paramedics and doctors.
  • The United Nations World Food Programme is on the ground delivering food to people who are fleeing the violence.
  • Meals will also be provided in Poland for incoming refugees by the World Central Chef Relief Team.
  • Vostok-SOS has hotlines open and the team is on the ground in the region helping people evacuate, providing humanitarian aid and psychosocial support.
  • The Kyiv Independent is now fundraising to continue its coverage of cyberattacks, bombings, and ground invasions from within the conflict. This comes following the termination of the Kyiv Post which was shut down after 26 years, including the dismissal of the entire team in November. The team then launched a new media outlet, the Kyiv Independent.
  • Doctors Without Borders is working to set up emergency response activities in Poland, Moldova, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia. In the Ukrainian city of Mariupol, medical kits have been distributed to treat wounded people and telemedicine training for trauma care has been shared with 30 surgeons from eastern Ukraine.
  • Ukraine-based, local response teams also have ongoing fundraisers, including United Help Ukraine, Razom for Ukraine, and Hospitallers which are seeking donations in order to provide on-site medical care and trauma kits to medical professionals.
  • UNICEF currently has a team of people working in Ukraine and nine UNICEF-supported child protection mobile teams that are helping children with psychosocial care, mental health support, and protection services.
  • USA for UNHCR is providing emergency services and tarps to protect displaced families from inclement weather. They also provide cash assistance vulnerable refugee families living outside of camps.

How to avoid charity scams

  • Make sure that where you’re donating is a legitimate organization or a group that has a proven record of delivering aid.
  • Do your research to determine if organizations are legitimate. Charity Navigator lists reputable organizations. Great Nonprofits and Give Well has reviews of nonprofit groups and can help you see how much of your money goes directly to relief.

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