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Ukraine Crisis Situation Update 03 (19 March 2022)

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Humanity First
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The Russia-Ukraine Crisis began on 24 February 2022. Since then, an estimated 3.2 million refugees, mainly women and children or elderly people have fled Ukraine, and there are an estimated 1.85 million internally displaced in Ukraine, heading west towards Dnipro, Kyiv and Lviv.

There are significant numbers of disabled or seriously ill children amongst those making it through, some of whom have been transferred for ongoing critical care soon after arriving in Poland.

Humanity First sent a first responder team from Germany to the Polish-Ukrainian border on 27 February, and since then they have been providing medical and food assistance to Ukrainian refugees with volunteers on rotation. HF is collaborating with UN agencies on the ground such as WHO, WFP, IOM and OCHA.

Most of the refugees in this part of Poland have been arriving via Lviv by car, coach or train and, having crossed the border, many have been able to get onward logistics and shelter arrangements through the excellent organisation by Polish authorities in Przemsyl, or further afield in Krakow and Warsaw.

Our medical volunteers have been working alongside Sauvetures Sans Frontieres (SSF). Due to the lengthy process of reaching the border and long queues of people waiting to be processed in the winter conditions, most patients have been presenting with a combination of fatigue, headache, sore throat and fever, and daily patient numbers have varied considerably. The main needs are primary care rather than trauma injuries on the Polish side. So far, our medical volunteers have treated 556 patients including a group of 50 orphans, and consulted hundreds more. Because HF has been providing medical services for a few weeks here, the team have been receiving donated medication and a defibrillator to a value of 7,000 EUR. Other doctors are also being directed to work with the HF team. Medication and resources have also been sent into Ukraine sufficient to treat at least 10,000 patients.

Humanity First also established a gazebo at the border at the Medyka camp being run by the Polish Red Cross. Every day, our team has been providing warm drinks and warm meals to those crossing into Poland. The queues on the Ukraine side have been lengthy and slow, so for the last week, HF has been providing hundreds of warm meals to those in the queues on the Ukrainian side. So far, HF has provided around 13,600 warm meals and more than 13,000 warm drinks of tea or coffee. We have even started providing fries for the children and provided 1,500 breakfast sandwiches. Refugees have been struggling to contact their loved ones, so our team has also handed out 800 free mobile SIM cards, and over 10,750 bags containing hygiene kits and high energy food.

HF has also set up a couple of buggies to help transport refugees and their luggage to the train station and this will increase for those moving on by rail rather than on the coaches.

A small response is also being started at the Moldova border. HF is setting up a system to support refugees at a number of camps near the border area.

Other HF branches across Europe have been supporting with resources, funds and volunteers. Medical volunteers with experience of working in emergency situations from North America and Europe are currently on standby to assist.

The team in Medyka are co-operating with local authorities and the Red Cross on a daily basis to improve processes around effectiveness, communications, safety and safeguarding at the camp. They have also been visited by many politicians and senior officials, as well as being interviewed by media outlets such as CNN, Asahi TV, VOI Radio and WELT. Communications to our team on the ground have improved since local authorities installed a mobile mast near the border camps.

Our assessment on the ground suggests there is no current need for HF to collect and send clothing, shoes or toys to the border areas. Most of the refugees have the belongings in a suitcase and do not have room to take additional items. Funds raised are being used to access resources locally based on the demand we are seeing from the refugees themselves.

Refugees from Ukraine have also been crossing the borders into Moldova, Hungary, Slovakia, Russia and Romania, and HF continues to assess needs at these other locations.