Photo: Crown Agents. First aid kits being packed in Poland for delivery in Ukraine.

The Ukraine Crisis: Responding to Evolving Needs

By Keith Kibirango, Director of Philanthropy and Private Sector Engagement, Crown Agents

It’s just over a month since Russia invaded Ukraine and close to 3,000 civilians have been killed, with the figure feared to be much higher. Over 10 million and counting have been forcibly displaced. As Russia evolves its military strategy, we need to adapt to the new challenges and needs.

It’s just over a month since Russia invaded Ukraine and nearly 3,000 civilians have been killed, with the figure feared to be much higher. Over 10 million and counting have been forcibly displaced within Ukraine and neighbouring countries. According to the Ukrainian Economy Minister, Yulia Svyrydenko, since 24 February, Ukraine has suffered nearly US$565 billion in damages and losses, a figure that continues to rise amid ongoing fighting. A rapid assessment by the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation projects food shortages immediately or in the next three months in more than 40 per cent of the areas reviewed.

On the day of the invasion, we launched with Business Fights Poverty a rapid response and our Crown Agents team has been bravely delivering on-the-ground support in Kyiv, Lviv, and our satellite offices in Poland and Slovakia. With 25 years experience in Ukraine, including five embedded in the Ukrainian Ministry of Health, our focus has been on the emergency medical needs within the country.

To date, we’ve delivered a range of items that have been heartbreaking to procure, including 71,000 trauma kits to prevent bleed-out from shrapnel wounds and 200 oxygen concentrators. We’re also procuring protective equipment for doctors, nurses and paramedics who are being targeted by Russian snipers (the challenge in getting bulletproof vests designed for women has been eye-opening). 

We fear the situation on the ground is likely to deteriorate further. The growing needs remain difficult to assess and effectively address amid a highly volatile security situation, and we are relying on information being provided directly by the Ministry of Health. As the Russian military continues to evolve its strategy, we have to remain flexible to the impact of this on needs.

Notably, there has been an increasing number of Russian strikes against fuel installations. This raises new challenges – the lack of electricity, along with the continued shelling of civilian targets. The attack on power sources means hospitals struggle to provide care for those wounded and who need surgery. Other routine work like storing vaccines and other medicines that require refrigeration, keeping incubators going, and even having lights to treat patients in the dark. We desperately seek support to purchase generators that can help provide vital electricity in hospitals.

It has been heartwarming to see the quick response by the business community, with many donating to relief efforts within the country and for refugees who have been forced to leave. We are hugely grateful for the support many of you have already given through our Rapid Response Facility. Because of your generosity, we have managed to source and deliver life-saving equipment to the Ministry of Health in Lviv, Ukraine. If you want to give again or can encourage others to do so, please use the JustGiving page at https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/crownagentsukraine. (We’d also be happy to speak to you about setting up employee match funding).

We thank you with the utmost appreciation.

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