People in Need is working to get aid as far as possible into eastern Ukraine. Drinking water is among biggest needsPublished: Mar 14, 2022 Reading time: 4 minutes
In the first two weeks of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, People in Need (PIN) has transported five trains and five trucks of humanitarian aid to Ukraine.
In the East, we have been supplying drinking water by trucks to villages whose water supply systems have been damaged by shelling. We also operate a truck distributing jerry cans of water to those who need them.
Thanks to PIN’s local partners and staff, additional aid is reaching the worst affected areas. PIN has financially supported the operations of dozens of local NGOs to provide the most needed items for internally displaced people and for the population in the areas where the fighting is ongoing. People in Need was the first major humanitarian organization to provide large scale humanitarian aid in Ukraine.
War-damaged water pipes
Shortages of drinking water have plagued eastern Ukraine for a long time, and the Russian invasion has made the situation significantly worse. Due to the fighting, water pipes have been damaged. In many places, constant shelling and the threat of danger make it almost impossible to make repairs. Additionally, many places are entirely cut off from the water supply due to heavy fighting.
"Water has become a life-saving commodity in Ukraine at the moment. People are hiding in basements, shelters, garages for hours and sometimes days and in the most affected places they face lack of water," says Jan Mrkvička, Director of People in Need’s Relief and Development Department.
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People in Need has sent a truckload of water containers directly from Prague. More trucks with water containers will follow shortly. In parts of Ukraine, there is water in wells. However, people often have no way to store it. Thus, PIN’s provision of containers will make it possible to store water from underground wells and reservoirs.
In places with no local water sources at all, People in Need is distributing bottled water or sending water in tankers. Since the invasion, PIN has stocked over twenty water tankers that can hold between 200 and 500 litres.
We are helping internal refugees in the East
People in Need currently has 30 staff members working in eastern Ukraine. Two of our humanitarian trains have already arrived in the city of Dnipro with food, hygiene, sleeping bags, mattresses and medical aid. Through our partners, the aid from the trains has reached Kharkiv, the Donetsk region, and other places in the East by a fleet of local truck. "As soon as the humanitarian corridor opens, we are ready to send supplies to the hard-pressed port city of Mariupol," adds Petr Drbohlav, Regional Director for the Eastern Partnership and the Balkans.
People in Need plans to distribute cash to those fleeing who could only take the essentials with them. In many places, markets are still functioning. Therefore, PIN is distributing money so people can buy the essentials they need most.
In places such as Sviatohirks or Kharkiv, either submerged by internally displaced people or partially cut off by fighting, shops have been completely emptied of goods. PIN is sending food and hygiene parcels to make up for shortfalls in locally available items to aid those in need in these areas.
Hundreds of thousands of refugees await further developments
In the days after the invasion, People in Need moved its main office to Lviv. Dozens of collective centres have been set up in western Ukraine for internally displaced people who have fled and are now waiting to return home or be forced to flee across the border. PIN will deliver blankets, sleeping bags, mattresses, kitchen equipment, cookers, pots of food, baby food and hygiene kits to these centres.
Take a look at the story of Polina, a 19-year-old Ukrainian student who painted a picture of how she fled Kyiv with her parents:
People in Need is providing people with psychosocial assistance. Many of those waiting in collective centres today have experienced the traumas of war. They have been forced to hide from airstrikes and artillery attacks in shelters and cellars, have said goodbye to loved ones, or have witnessed violence and its consequential suffering and death. People in Need has set up a psychosocial helpline where people can reach experts working with these types of traumas. PIN is also working to establish a mobile psychosocial team that can visit remote locations. PIN expects this need to grow significantly and plans to expand these psychosocial support services in Ukraine shortly.
What people need is peace, and they want to go home
People in Need's assistance to the people of Ukraine has reached tens of thousands of people in the first weeks of the conflict. This reach was unique both in its scope and the speed with which the People in Need team responded and deployed assistance. The Ukrainians are very grateful for our work, yet the prevailing view is that it would be best if such assistance were not needed at all. "We want to live our lives again as we did before the war," or "most of all we want peace and to be able to return home" are the most frequently repeated phrases our staff hear.
People in Need’s assistance to people in Ukraine is possible thanks to donations from the public and private sector to PIN Ukraine Emergency Appeal, financial contributions from Alliance2015, CARE, Stichting Vluchteling, Porticus, King Baudouin Foundation and partnership with European Union, Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic or World Food Programme.