UKRAINE: HUMANITARIAN IMPACT OF THE CONFLICT and #MOASMissionUkraine

For Ukrainians, these are anxious days. As bombs keep raining down on major cities, hospitals, and infrastructure irrespectively, civilians either rush to Cold War-era bunkers and bomb shelters in the attempt to have their lives saved or try and flee into neighbouring countries.

HUMANITARIAN IMPACT IN THE COUNTRY

The war has heavily impacted the people who are still living inside the country.  The ongoing armed violence and rapidly deteriorating security environment throughout the country have put hundreds of thousands of people’s lives at risk.

According to the UN, “The intense military escalation has resulted in loss of life, injuries and mass movement of the civilian population throughout the country and to neighbouring countries, as well as severe destruction and damage to civilian infrastructure and residential housing. Public service provision – water, electricity, heating and emergency health and social services – is under severe pressure, and people’s access to health care is limited by insecurity. Primary services such as banking, social transfers and transport have been affected, as have basic services, such as health, water, and electricity, and local administration. With the continuation of the military operation and mounting insecurity, supply chains are likely to be disrupted for a prolonged period of time”.

The UN OCHA’s Situation Report depicts the tragic impact of the conflict: “food, water, shelter and basic household items are urgently needed, especially for those trapped in cities experiencing active hostilities whose access to markets has been cut off, and supplies are running short as supply chains grind to a halt. (…) Health services – already massively weakened by the cumulative effects of years of conflict as well as the multiple waves of COVID-19 – have also deteriorated rapidly due to shortages of medical supplies and personnel relative to the current scale of needs. Access to emergency medical services, including reproductive health services, has become even more challenging amid insecurity”.

PEOPLE FORCED TO FLEE IN SEARCH OF SAFETY

As a result of the conflict, people are fleeing from their homes in high-risk exposed areas, in search of safety, many of whom were already displaced multiple times by the previous fighting.

According to Filippo Grandi, head of the United Nations Refugee Agency, the conflict has triggered the “fasting-growing refugee crisis in Europe since the Second World War”. With more than 1,335 Ukrainian casualties registered, in the space of 14 days 2 million citizens have fled across Ukraine’s borders into neighbouring countries. The majority of Ukrainians are fleeing into Poland (885,303 people), followed by Hungary (169,053), Slovakia (113,967) and Moldova (84,067). European Union countries are seeing a big influx of Ukrainians refugees and are currently expecting 7 million people to arrive in their territories. Considering the magnitude of the crisis and the urgency of a unified response, the EU has unanimously and rapidly agreed to give immediate protection and rights to Ukrainians fleeing the war by invoking for the first time since its establishment the 2001 Temporary Protection Directive. With this provision, people fleeing Ukraine will have the right to move freely across the EU territory, to live and work in European countries, in addition to having access to social services benefits like housing and medical care.

#MOASMissionUkraine

In regard to medical care, the UN OCHA Situation Report states that ”as fighting rages on across certain parts of Ukraine, medical care for hundreds of thousands of people can no longer be guaranteed. Insecurity Insight reported at least two dozen incidents where explosive weapons damaged health facilities in the first week of the hostilities alone. Trauma and injuries in the hardest-hit areas are exacerbated by a lack of access to health facilities and health professionals whom themselves are increasingly affected by growing displacement and insecurity and a limited access to life-saving medicine and supplies.( …) Particularly vulnerable groups include older persons and persons with disabilities, who may be unable to flee or may stay in the impacted areas, resulting in risks to their lives, struggles to meet daily needs and challenges in accessing humanitarian assistance”.

In light of the deteriorating situation, MOAS has started the #MOASMissionUkraine, a humanitarian program to provide emergency medical care and first response services to those impacted by the escalating violence. We have deployed fully equipped Mobile Medical Units (MMUs) and medical personnel in-country to assist as many civilians as possible affected by the violence.

Regina Catrambone, MOAS co-Founder and Director, stated:

[…] in light of the military action and the intense risk it brings to children, women and vulnerable people across the country, our focus is on rapidly providing aid and humanitarian services in support of those in need. MOAS and our teams are doing all we can to ensure we intervene efficiently and effectively to the best of our ability and will continue to do so for as long as we are able.”

As part of the #MOASMissionUkraine, we have completed a medical evacuation of a Ukrainian family with two medically vulnerable children that have no mobility and require 24/7 care and medicines no longer available in the country. Their critical conditions made it nearly impossible to evacuate through primary or secondary means, so MOAS offered a route to safety using the MMUs. They were safely brought to a safe destination where they are getting the medical care they need.

FINAL CONSIDERATIONS

MOAS’ experience in service provision for displaced communities and rapid response in the face of emergent crises worldwide makes it a leader in the field. With the ongoing violence spreading across the country, MOAS is committed to helping vulnerable people in need and will continue to provide emergency medical care in Ukraine through the Mobile Medical Units to assist as many people as possible.

Please support the #MOASMissionUkraine, with a donation: https://www.moas.eu/moas-mission-ukraine/

 

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