Conflict in Ukraine continues to destroy infrastructure, homes, and lives, as the world marks one year and severity and complexity of multiple global crises driven by conflict is now staggering.
Supporting thousands of displaced people, GOAL has had a sustained presence in Ukraine over the last 12 months.
Within days of the Russian invasion on 24th Feb 2022, GOAL teams were on the ground in Eastern Poland and Ukraine distributing food and non-food items including hygiene kits, clothes and blankets. GOAL continued this distribution of essential items over the following three months from March – May, to over 17,000 people fleeing the conflict.
Right to Protection (RtP), Kyiv-based NGO, partnering with GOAL then embarked on a programme aimed to ensure that those displaced in Kyiv, Chernihiv, Sumy, Poltava and Cherkasy regions in Ukraine, were aware of their entitlements and protections following the loss of homes and livelihoods. Working with RtP, GOAL also delivered badly needed Mental Health and Psychological Support Services (MHPSS) to people in these five regions.
From June 2022 to Jan 2023, these legal aid information sessions and MHPSS were delivered to 6,800 people and this work was enabled by a €500,000 grant to GOAL in May 2022, from Irish Aid.
As the freezing Winter temperatures in Ukraine set in, GOAL distributed dozens of large generators and hundreds of electric heaters to provide power and heat to temporary displacement centres in a number of regions, including Kharkiv in Eastern Ukraine, where near-daily shelling continues. The aid agency also has plans to soon deliver generators to Dnipro, where large numbers of people displaced from the city of Kherson, which was the focus of intense Russian attacks in winter, are currently based.
But Georgina Jordan, GOAL’s Emergency Response Lead expects the needs of people to increase as the war goes on.
“News headlines around the world now focus on military aspects of the war, but millions of Ukrainians are still unable to return to their homes. 5.4 million people are internally displaced and eight million have sought refuge abroad. The humanitarian needs of people in Ukraine will grow the longer that this conflict continues. So, we are calling on the ever-generous Irish public not to wane in their support for people in Ukraine as the intense conflict enters its second year, tomorrow.’
Mary Van Lieshout, GOAL’s Director of External Affairs spoke of the cost of failing to support people impacted by long-term conflict.
“The threat of this becoming a protracted conflict risks support for Ukraine fading over time. We have witnessed this in Northern Syria, which has been plagued by perpetual conflict for almost 12 years now. The slower provision of international aid for people there after this month’s earthquakes serves to show the deadly cost of leaving people behind. Fortunately, our aid supplies in Syria were largely undamaged, so we could provide immediate support where it was most needed, but a wider international effort was and still is desperately needed.”
Mary Van Lieshout also highlighted the extreme pressure on international aid efforts in the face of multiplying crises.
“The severity and complexity of multiple global crises driven by conflict is stark. The ongoing conflicts in Ukraine, Syria, and Haiti, as well as the recent surge of violence in Ethiopia, have left millions of people in dire need of humanitarian assistance.”
“It is imperative that the international community continues to respect humanitarian principles and provide funding for humanitarian responses to save lives. These principles, including humanity, impartiality, neutrality, and independence, ensure that aid is delivered to those in need, regardless of race, religion, or political affiliation. Without sufficient funding, humanitarian organizations like GOAL Global cannot effectively respond to the needs of people affected by conflict” continued Mary Van Lieshout.