Australian NGOs are delivering urgent assistance to people fleeing war-torn Ukraine, providing food and water, trauma care and medical supplies.
Australia’s peak-body for aid and development NGOs – the Australian Council for International Development (ACFID) – has published a consolidated list of its members who are working on the ground and are seeking the Australian public’s support.
According to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), 1.37 million people have crossed Ukraine’s borders since 24 February.
Over 2.9 million people have already required humanitarian assistance and this figure is expected to rise exponentially as a result of the intensification of violence.
Natasha Chabbra, ACFID’s Humanitarian Advocacy and Policy Advisor, said:
“We can expect to see significant further displacement as the fighting in Ukraine intensifies. This could become the largest refugee crisis in Europe since the second World War.
“Emergency health care is a critical need for displaced populations including trauma care and provision of medical supplies. The key protection concerns are around facilitating safe evacuation for people with disabilities, older persons, women and children.
“Non-government organisations and other humanitarian agencies are delivering rapid, localised and well-coordinated support.”
ACFID has welcomed the Australian Government’s swift announcement of AUD $35 million of humanitarian assistance, which the peak-body understands is new and additional funding for the 2021-22 aid budget.
“The response to the crisis in Ukraine has shown that the Australian Government has the tools to comprehensively respond and can do so quickly. Australia has condemned the violence, enacted sanctions and provided critical support.”
However, ACFID has cautioned against labelling the Australian provision of ammunition, small arms and missile supplies to Ukraine as ‘lethal aid’.
“We should not confuse aid with the provision of lethal weapons. ‘Aid’ is about life-saving support and meeting basic human needs. The words we use have the potential for real impacts for humanitarian access on the ground, including corrupting the neutrality of humanitarian assistance.
“We caution against the Australian Government and other nations using this terminology.”
Marc Purcell, CEO of ACFID, also cautioned against donation of goods to those affected by the crisis:
“Remember, cash donations are best to help Ukrainian refugees and displaced people. Give donations to accredited humanitarian charities. Don’t give goods. They end up stuck in ports 1000s km from where refugees are and are a waste. Do help Ukraine.”
All ACFID member appeals listed have been checked and meet ACFID Code of Conduct requirements.
Members of the public can view a list of consolidated ACFID-member appeals at: https://acfid.asn.au/content/consolidated-appeals-ukraine.
For more information or to arrange interviews please call 0401 721 064 or email [email protected].