One year since the Russian invasion: more than € 97 million worth of aid has already helped more than a million people and we're ready to continue

Published: Feb 22, 2023 Reading time: 7 minutes
One year since the Russian invasion: more than € 97 million worth of aid has already helped more than a million people and we're ready to continue
© Foto: Svatopluk Klesnil

On Friday, February 24, 2023, it will be exactly one year since the Russian invasion of Ukraine began. Over the past year, People in Need and its partners have supported more than 1 million people with aid worth over CZK 2.3 billion (€ 97 million) and supported 920,000 people, either directly or together with partners. Additionally,  hundreds of thousands of people have benefited from material aid from the Czech Republic or help from our partners. The aid has been directed to both Ukraine, as well as neighbouring countries that have received waves of refugees, including the Czech Republic.

In addition to ongoing humanitarian aid, People in Need continues to support human rights defenders and volunteers who help their citizens, often putting their own lives at risk to ensure that aid reaches those most in need. Support also goes to Ukrainian NGOs that are in contact with the local government and can effectively relay the most pressing current needs. 

Although Ukraine is at war, its people are making admirable efforts to rebuild their country. As long as they need help, People in Need will continue to support them, be it in Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, and or here in the Czech Republic. 

Table of Contents: 

What has People in Need done in the past year?

In Ukraine, we've provided:

  • Food packages to 358,911 people
  • Water to 240 706 people
  • Shelter and non-food assistance to 57 387 people
  • Multi-purpose cash assistance to 67 815 people
  • War-damaged home repair to 19 334 people
  • Psychological assistance to 24 682 people
In the Czech Republic, we've: 

  • directly supported 38,229 individuals and families
  • contributed financially from our SOS Ukraine Appeal to 223,597 cases, together with 114 organizations 

THANK YOU, DONORS!

"Thank you, everyone! From those who contributed €10 to those who contributed millions," says Šimon Pánek, Director of People in Need.

Humanitarian aid on the ground, including trucks and humanitarian trains from the Czech Republic

Just two days after the start of the Russian invasion, People in Need sent the first truckloads of humanitarian aid to Ukraine. And at the beginning of March, we sent the first humanitarian trains loaded with basic and durable food, medicine, medical supplies,

sleeping bags, mattresses, hygiene items and nutrition for children arrived at Kyiv railway station. We also delivered aid to shelled areas in the south, north and east of Ukraine by humanitarian convoys.

One of the major problems in Ukraine since the beginning has been access to clean water, to which some people in the country have limited or no access at all. Fighting has damaged infrastructure and water pipes, and in some places the water either does not flow at all or is very dirty. In places where the situation was critical and no water sources remained, People in Need supplied bottled water and water in jerry cans and tanks. "We drank rainwater," Viktoria recalls of the situation in Izjum before People in Need delivered four truckloads of water there.

Video from the beginning of the invasion: 

On the ground in Ukraine, People in Need continues to help people repair war-damaged buildings, provide direct financial assistance to families, improve living conditions in internal refugee centres, provide psychosocial support and work to ensure that education for children and youth in Ukraine continues. In the last 12 months, People in Need has made education accessible to 2,092 Ukrainian children and repaired 6 schools or 81 collective centres for internal refugees.

"We focus on rebuilding war-ravaged places, strengthening resilience and sustainable development of the country, for example by promoting small business, social housing or participatory governance. Twelve months of war has taught us a lot. Not only did we get used to working on a much larger scale, but we also learned about the suffering experienced by victims and of the barbarism that some people are capable of, even in the 21st century," says Petr Drbohlav, Regional Director for Eastern Partnership and the Balkans at People in Need. 

People in Need staff are also still working hard to help Ukrainian refugees in Moldova, Georgia and Romania.

In addition to direct aid, we have also been able to provide assistance to local organisations. "We have financially supported, for example, our partner organisation Posmishka or R2P2. Through these partners, we've helped with the distribution of water, food and hygiene supplies. We've supported internal refugees at collective centres and donated financial aid. In last year, we've distributed CZK 128 million (more than 5 million) among 200 local organisations," says Petr Drbohlav.

Support for human rights defenders, free media and war crime accountability

Most Ukrainian human rights activists and journalists, bloggers and lawyers have lost their income overnight. In order to continue doing their work, sixteen of them have started to receive funding from People in Need in order to cover their salaries, as well as other essential living expenses.

"On February, 24, 2022, at four o'clock in the morning, I was on the phone from Prague with my relatives in Ukraine and heard through the phone that bombs were falling on my hometown. I wanted to be there so badly at that moment. To work, to help or just to stand next to my people and be with them. And that is why I understand why the vast majority of our Ukrainian colleagues - human rights defenders - stayed in the country. A lot of them went to fight, like my close friend Maksym Butkevych, who has been in Russian captivity for eight months now," says Nadiia Ivanova, Director of the Human Rights Department at People in Need Ukraine. 

Just a few days after the Russian invasion, People in Need quickly relocated several dozen foreign activists who had fled to Ukraine to escape oppression in their own country. They were moved from Kyiv to safer locations. If captured by the occupying forces, they would have faced terrible treatment and been in imminent danger from Russian intelligence. In addition, psychologists from People in Need provide psychological support to human rights defenders, their families and journalists.

"We also support organisations that focus on war crimes and whose main task is to document those war crimes so that they can bring the perpetrators of those crimes to justice," adds Nadiia Ivanova.

Immediately after the start of the aggression, People in Need began financially supporting 10 Ukrainian media outlets, including Zaborona.com and Babel, which are among the best-known independent and investigative news portals in the country. Advertising revenues dropped to virtually zero from one day to the next after the Russian attack, so the goal of PIN's assistance was primarily to provide a safe place to work and salaries for their editors. In addition, People in Need provided the three media outlets with electricity generators.

Czech Republic: direct assistance to refugees and Work toward systemic change

After the Russian invasion began, it was necessary to respond quickly to the needs of Ukrainian refugees arriving in the Czech Republic. Many of them were women with small children and the elderly people, and many of them had nothing to eat, nothing to change into, did not know where they would sleep, needed to sort out their documents and required medical care. Over time, 450,000 people arrived, the most per capita our of any EU country.

"In the beginning, the integration centre of People in Need helped me a lot and became like my second family. They helped me with everything I needed, like paperwork and interpretation. Together we lived through one of the most joyful and difficult events in my life, the expectation of my son Marek. They provided us with material help, clothes, diapers... They allowed my daughter Zlata to attend an adaptation group. Today, she is in third grade at primary school and her report card is full of As," says Tetiana, who would like to return home after the end of the war.

"Where direct aid from People in Need cannot reach, we help address acute needs in partnership with dozens of other organizations and entities dedicated to supporting refugees across the Czech Republic. From the SOS Ukraine Emergency Appeal, People in Need has been able give CZK 62 million (about 2.5 million) in aid to NGOs, schools, children's centres, firefighters, medical clinics and  food banks," says Zuzana Ramajzlová, Head of SOS Ukraine in the Czech Republic.

Media education and awareness-raising have long been an integral part of the work of People in Need. Last year, interest in the materials of the educational section of JSNS.cz (available in Czech) that focused on Russian propaganda after the invasion of Ukraine increased by tenfold. 

CONTRIBUTE TO SOS UKRAINE

One year on from the invasion and the Russian aggression in Ukraine continues. Millions of people continue to need assistance. People in Need is ready to help for as long as it is needed. Please donate if you can. Every little bit helps!
Instant help
Donate regularly

Thank you to everyone who has contributed to the SOS Ukraine Appeal! You've made it possible to expand our aid many times over and multiply the number of people reached. Additionally, thank you very much to all partner organizations, institutions and other entities involved in the aid to Ukraine, both in the Czech Republic and abroad. 

Upcoming events to commemorate the anniversary of the invasion

This Thursday, February 23rd, People in Need is organizing several cultural events in support of Ukraine. In addition to the big video mapping at Letná, which will take place right on the building of the Ministry of the Interior, there will also be screenings and discussions at the Světozor cinema and an exhibition at the Langhans Centre.

More information is available here


Autor: People in Need

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