Artillery fire, rockets and fighting on many fronts acutely threaten the well-being of more than 7.5 million children. “The consequences for children affected by this escalation of conflict are very worrying. The focus is now on protecting those who are most vulnerable to the rise of this crisis”, said our Regional Officer Eleanor Monbiot on the 25th of February 2022.
UNHCR reported in November 2022 that 15.8 million people are now believed to have fled Ukraine. 7.9 million have been registered in Europe and 4.8 million of them have been granted protection status. This is the fastest growing refugee crisis in Europe since World War II.
Together with UN organisations and other partners, we do our utmost to alleviate the suffering of refugee children and their families.
World Vision has been working in the region for decades. We provide direct humanitarian aid to those who have fled Ukraine. For example, with survival kits with the most necessary items for children or psychological first aid for children and individuals. Many of the refugees, especially children and women, are severely traumatised.
In order to be able to provide the expected tremendously large number of refugees with the most basic necessities, we are dependent on your support.
The escalation of conflict in Ukraine has forced millions of people — mostly women and children — to flee to neighboring countries. With the escalating crisis, the causalities, the number of displaced and the needs are growing hour. Our CEO Christoph von Toggenburg with an update.
People who fled Ukraine in Siret, Romania
Two employees of World Vision Romania distribute some food to refugee children.
These children are also happy to receive a small meal from the hand of a World Vision employee.
A fled child in Siret, Romania, on the border with Ukraine.
It is freezing cold in Siret. Refugees try to keep warm.
This woman is also trying to keep themselves warm.
World Vision Romania staff help in Siret wherever they can.
World Vision Romania staff in Siret.
The United Nations estimates that as many as 5 million people will flee the country as a result of the Ukrainian conflict, triggering a refugee crisis that will test the response capacity of neighbouring countries.
World Vision has been active in the region for over 30 years and has been providing humanitarian assistance to refugees since February. We are also working with partners to continuously assess and adapt the needs of the most vulnerable children and their families. We focus on three objectives:
Health and hygiene
We respond to immediate and basic needs with what we call "comfort kits". These kits contain materials for hygiene, child protection and education. The World Vision office in Romania also provides refugees with access to shelter.
Children who have fled leave a lot behind: friends, toys, school, pets, etc. We provide initial psychosocial support and help parents cope with their own trauma.
Gaps in children's education should be prevented. We create child-friendly zones where children can "be a child". These temporary spaces improve the protection of children and enable leisure activities. In cooperation with the Ministry of Education, they can also be used for basic education.
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World Vision is very concerned about the impact of this crisis on vulnerable children and their families, particularly in terms of the increased risk of trauma to children. There is an increasing possibility of significant forced displacement in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. The risk of trafficking has also increased significantly for women and children in the region. The economic impact of the crisis is expected to have severe consequences for oil and commodity prices, which could exacerbate child poverty far beyond Eastern Europe. As always, children are the most affected by the conflicts.
At present, we unfortunately do not have the option of accepting donations in kind.
However, even if we did, there are several reasons why this could potentially do more harm than good. These include: 1. in-kind donations are generally supply-driven and do not usually meet the most urgent needs in such a crisis; 2. in-kind donations from abroad harm local suppliers and the market; and 3. in-kind donations significantly increase World Vision's operational costs as well as the cost of humanitarian aid on the ground.
We are a humanitarian aid organisation that provides aid in a neutral and impartial manner based solely on need and in accordance with internationally recognised standards.
Anyone who would like to help should bear this in mind: Not every donation serves its purpose, even if it is well-intentioned. Donations of goods and materials, for example, cause high costs for collection, sorting, transport and the often lengthy customs clearance in the destination country. Therefore, they tend to hinder humanitarian work on the ground. Monetary donations are more flexible and efficient to use than donations in kind and reach where they are needed even without geographical proximity. Since World Vision has been working in Eastern Europe for decades, it has the necessary experience and structures to provide good care for the people.