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Australian NGOs are assisting families fleeing Ukraine

2 min read
Australian NGOs

People fleeing from war-torn Ukraine are receiving immediate aid from Australian NGOs, including food, drink, trauma treatment, and medical supplies.

The Australian Council for International Development (ACFID), Australia’s top organisation for relief and development NGOs, has issued a consolidated list of its members who are operating on the ground and seeking public support in Australia.

Since February 24, 1.37 million individuals have crossed Ukraine’s borders, according to the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR).

As a result of the increased violence, over 2.9 million people have already received humanitarian aid, and this number is anticipated to climb rapidly.

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.”

The Australian Government’s quick offer of AUD $35 million in humanitarian relief, which ACFID understands is new and additional funds for the 2021-22 aid budget, has been welcomed by the organisation.

“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.” Chabbra continued.

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.” Chabbra said, “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.


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