PROVIDING LIFE-SAVING ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT TO THOSE MOST IN NEED: OUR AID WORKERS ARE SUPPORTING PEOPLE AFFECTED BY WAR IN UKRAINEPublished: Aug 19, 2022 Reading time: 3 minutes
Russia's unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has caused devastating harm to civilians in Ukraine, negatively impacting both neighbouring countries and the wider world. In Ukraine, 17.7 million people need humanitarian aid and protection. Knowing that winter is approaching, civilians will face the full effects of the harsh cold due to destroyed houses and infrastructure.
Local and national humanitarian workers are central in delivering humanitarian aid in Ukraine. They were the first responders right after the invasion and have remained Ukraine's leading providers of humanitarian aid. One of those aid workers is our colleague Roman Zemliak. Roman works as a senior project officer in People in Need Ukraine.
"I have been working for People in Need for many years in Donetsk Oblast, where we support people in Donbas, but due to intensified fighting, I was forced to flee my native town, which is now occupied. My family and I left our home and moved to another part of Ukraine. I continue to work for PIN supporting people suffering from the war's consequences. Now, being displaced myself, I better understand the hardships—physical, financial and emotional, faced by those who are internally displaced, have lost their homes, are separated from their family members, and many other difficult circumstances caused by the fighting," says Roman.
Over the past month, we have delivered food and drinking water to tens of thousands of people across Ukraine. We work in almost all oblasts, including Kharkiv, Donetsk, Zaporizhia, Dnipropetrovsk, Chernihiv and Sumy. Our aid is constantly changing and adapting to the needs on the ground. We have expanded our team in Ukraine to more than two hundred colleagues and opened offices in Lviv, Dnipro, Poltava, Vinnytsia and Chernihiv. Our teams continue to provide food aid, especially in settlements that have seen an influx of people fleeing from fighting in other areas of Ukraine. Besides, we continue to supply drinking water to people living near the front line where the water supply system has been damaged due to the constant shelling.
Our colleague, Inna Yerofeieva, has worked with us for eight years. She has experienced displacement due to the active hostilities herself; back in 2014 when she moved from Horlivka to Kostiantynivka in Donetsk Oblast and again in 2022 when she moved to Dnipro. Inna knows how difficult it is to face all the problems related to displacement; what does it mean to feel fear for your children, family and your own life? Now Inna is a project coordinator covering Donetsk and Poltava Oblasts. She spends a lot of time visiting affected communities, collecting their needs, and coordinating the delivery of food and hygiene items to the affected people.
"In Donetsk Oblast, we work in the frontline settlements, which are often inaccessible because of the security situation. These places are regularly bombed and shelled, and the people staying there are in dire need of humanitarian assistance. Many of them are just staying in the basements or bomb shelters for weeks, like in Avdiivka or Marinka, for example. We deliver emergency aid to those communities ourselves or through our partners—local NGOs working in the area", says Inna.
Across Ukraine, we are preparing to repair 9,000 houses, schools and other damaged buildings before the winter. One of our engineers is Roman Krol. Roman began working with us back in 2015. Back then, he was engaged in the rehabilitation of damaged houses. Now with other engineers, he visits affected settlements, assesses damaged buildings, and meets people and local authorities to lay the groundwork for rehabilitation in Kyiv, Sumy and Chernihiv Oblasts.
"We are doing our best to rehabilitate roofs, repair damaged windows, and perform other repair tasks for people whose houses were affected by the fighting. We do this so that they can return home and survive the upcoming winter", shares Roman, whose biggest wish is to meet with all his friends when the war ends.