UKRAINE: Access to war-stricken families is crucial
DRC is working with 61 local partners for crisis response and is preparing several mine clearance operations in Kyiv. Regional director: "We are operating under extremely harsh and unpredictable conditions. But with the support of thousands of donors, we will continue to expand our life-saving crisis response."
Posted on 21 Apr 2022
One in four is forcibly displaced
Almost two months into the Ukraine crisis, fighting continues to intensify, and the number of civilian casualties is rising across the country. While more than one in four people in Ukraine have been driven to flee their homes, a total of 18 million people are either currently or expected to be affected by the conflict (UN Flash Appeal 2022).
"We are operating under extremely harsh and unpredictable conditions. But with the support of thousands of donors, we will continue to expand our life-saving crisis response," emphasizes Senada Cesic, Regional Director of DRC Europe.
“One of our main focuses right now is to provide effective financial support to local aid organizations, civic initiatives, and businesses. The support provides for the distribution of food, water, clothes, blankets, and other necessities, as well as shelter, medical aid, and evacuation. We aim to expand our collaboration with local partners in order to reach more displaced people with crucial humanitarian crisis assistance.”
One of the most critical needs is to ensure rapid and unhindered access to all those in need. There is regular news about humanitarian corridors, but often they do not become a reality, and thousands of people remain trapped in areas of active fighting.
/ Senada Cesic, Regional Director of DRC Europe
DRC works with 61 local partners in Ukraine
Right now, the DRC collaborates with 61 local relief partners across Ukraine. In areas with many internally displaced persons, our 200 employees contribute to the distribution of cash assistance, clothing, blankets, hygiene kits, etc., to the extent that it is possible to reach the people in need.
"We are constantly working to increase and intensify our crisis assistance. One of the most critical needs right now is to ensure rapid and unhindered access to all those in need of protection and humanitarian aid. There is regular news about humanitarian corridors, but often they do not become a reality, and thousands of people remain trapped in areas of active fighting," says Senada Cesic.
Several of our own employees are among those who are unable to get out of areas in the eastern Ukraine where the conflict is intense and life-threatening.
"We are doing everything we can to reach out to them, get them to safety, and make the access routes there safer," says the regional director.
In areas that have recently been exposed to active acts of war, we provide advice and education on the risks caused by explosive remnants of war. The next step is to begin clearing and disposing of the dangerous remnants of war, as soon as access is obtainable.
/ Senada Cesic, Regional Director of DRC Europe
Clearing of unexploded ordnance in Kyiv
The recent acts of war in large parts of the country also increase the risk of civilians falling victim to explosive remnants of war such as mines, bombs, grenades, and small arms. Therefore, the Danish Refugee Council is expanding and intensifying our humanitarian mine efforts in the country. We have been engaged in demining and risk education in Ukraine since 2015, and have the capacity to run a multifaceted demining program.
“In areas that have recently been exposed to active acts of war, we provide advice and education on the risks caused by explosive remnants of war. The next step is to begin clearing and disposing of the dangerous remnants of war, as soon as access is obtainable,” says Regional Director Senada Cesic.
“Our many years of experience in preventing, mapping, and clearing explosive remnants of war have given us a capacity that we utilize to the greatest possible extent. Right now, we are planning several mine clearance operations in Kyiv in cooperation with the national authorities, which are facing a huge task across the country, due to extensive contamination after the recent fighting - not least in and around the capital.”
Our protection team also provides targeted individual support to civilians who have been injured by mines or other explosive remnants of war. In cities and areas where intense fighting is still going on, we offer telephone counseling and psycho-social support.
Internally displaced seek advice and guidance from DRC
In order to identify and meet the critical needs of the war-stricken population, our team in Ukraine works closely with displacement centers throughout the country, including in the eastern city of Dnipro, where DRC has street lawyers ready to answer questions about rights, documents, and escape routes. At border crossings, transport stations, and other hubs, we also distribute information leaflets, and we offer further legal assistance via hotlines and mobile clinics.
"Most inquiries to our advisory services right now concern the rules for border crossing, crossing with minors, the validity of Ukrainian driving licenses in the EU, family reunification in case of asylum application, rights, social guarantees, and the recovery of lost and expired documents abroad," says regional director Senada Cesic.
Emergency aid sent to conflict-affected families in Odesa
The Danish Refugee Council supports local actors in meeting urgent humanitarian needs in Ukraine. One example is several recent shipments of emergency aid to Odesa Oblast in southwestern Ukraine, where several rounds of active fighting have left local residents in desperate need of assistance.
The boxes contain:
Food: Cereal, canned goods, tea/coffee, cakes, protein bars