More than half a year has passed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Whilst we have been helping people in eastern Ukraine since 2014, in February this year, our assistance changed. We immediately increased our team in Ukraine and expanded our operation to almost all the oblasts throughout the country. Since then, we have helped more than 400,000 people, our team on the ground has grown to 260 employees, and generous donors have contributed more than two billion Czech crowns (€80 million) to the Ukraine emergency appeal. We have provided €32,9 million worth of aid to the victims of the war since Russia invaded.
Over the past month, we have delivered bottled water and food kits to newly liberated Balakliia in Kharkiv oblast, only six days after the liberation of Izium, we delivered drinking water to the town and has managed to supply humanitarian aid to thousands of people in the Donetska oblast together with the U.N. convoy. Deliveries of water, food, and hygiene packages continue in other areas of the country. We continue to help those who have lost their homes or whose homes need repairs to prepare for winter.
We have already helped tens of thousands of refugees in the Czech Republic. We provide social work in ten regions of the Czech Republic, we have been involved in the crisis related to the payment of humanitarian benefits, and we are still lending a helping hand through our Ukrainian helpline.
Read the latest summary of our assistance in Ukraine and the Czech Republic over the past month.
AID IN UKRAINE
Drinking water for tens of thousands of vulnerable people
€20,5 MILLION WORTH OF AID (distribution of material aid)
This month, we delivered four truckloads of bottled water and 2,000 food kits to the newly liberated Balakliia in Kharkiv Oblast. This work was undertaken through a local partner organisation that helped us get aid to where the assistance is urgently needed. “On 16 September we delivered drinking water to recently liberated city of Izium. As a result, residents received 4,500 bottles of 6 litres each. People in Balakliia and Izium have spent more than half a year under occupation with limited access to basic services and suffering the horrors of war,” says Petr Drbohlav, Regional Director for Eastern Partnership and Balkans at People in Need. On September 6th, we, together with OCHA Ukraine, delivered a convoy of humanitarian assistance to support 5,000 residents of Chasiv Yar and neighbouring settlements in Donetsk Oblast. We distributed 40 tonnes of bottled drinking water, as there is no water supply in the area due to the fighting. We continue to assist the frontline communities in cooperation with our partners.
“We were on the way we heard an explosion. It was so scary! And my son-in-law bent over and covered my daughter and saved her. If he hadn’t, Olia wouldn’t be alive,” Valentyna says.
We continue to deliver humanitarian aid to other areas of Ukraine. Over the past month, we have provided food kits to 6,081 people, basic hygiene items to 10,293 people, and bottled water to 17,632 people in the Donetsk Oblast. In the Luhansk Oblast, 1,120 people received hygiene, and at least 924 people received food kits. Food and other essential aid are being distributed in cooperation with partner organisations in Sloviansk, Kurakhove, Bakhmut, Donetsk Oblast, and in Huliai Pole, Orikhiv and other settlements in Zaporizhzhia Oblast. We actively support populations living in the frontline settlements in Dnipropetrovsk Oblast, Nikopol, Zelenodolsk, and Apostolove. We have delivered construction materials for repairing damaged houses in Apostlove and Chaplyno.
Since February, we have also helped the residents of the Kharkiv Oblast. We have provided food for 5,635 people in the last four weeks alone. Many people have had to flee directly from Kharkiv, including Valentyna. Valentyna, her husband, daughter, and son-in-law tried to escape the fighting and leave Kharkiv. “We were on the way we heard an explosion. It was so scary! And my son-in-law bent over and covered my daughter and saved her. If he hadn’t, Olia wouldn’t be alive,” Valentyna says.
Now the family has found a safe place in Chuhuiv, but it is not impossible to create comfortable conditions in a new home without outside support. Therefore, with our partners, we are supporting people who have been forced to live in bomb shelters for weeks.
Also, in Lviv Oblast, we have been providing hot meals for 500 people for three months in collective centres, and in the last month alone, families in these centres have received food kits that will support 3,000 people. Across Ukraine, we are helping people who have lost their homes or have houses without windows or roofs to prepare for winter. The most recent assistance was in Sumy Oblast, where we provided tarpaulins and other materials for 1,321 people.
Psychological support to people in collective centres
€93 THOUSAND WORTH OF AID (psychosocial assistance)
Collective centres still provide at least a temporary home for hundreds of internally displaced people. These people have nowhere to return to and have spent several months in the centres. In addition to warm food and facilities, we provide children and adults with psychosocial and mental health support.
We have also built child-friendly spaces in many centres. Here children can again feel unworried and forget about growing up in a war. We aim to make the centres as pleasant as possible for the children, so we buy equipment such as TVs, toys and puzzles, pencils, brushes and paints, books, but also tea, biscuits, and so on.
Where the shops are open, we also help families with a financial contribution
€8,6 MILLION WORTH OF AID (financial aid to people)
Where trade and markets work, we provide direct financial assistance; this means people can plan their shopping and buy precisely. This aid allows them to get what they need; they are not dependent on the contents of standardised food kits. In a situation where war has deprived people of almost everything, the opportunity to buy what a person needs is also an opportunity to exercise one’s agency and make decisions about something in life. The most vulnerable families receive the equivalent of CZK 1,700 in hryvnia (68 EUR) every month for a quarter of a year so that they can buy goods according to their own needs.
AID IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC
€3,08 MILLION WORTH OF AID
In the Czech Republic, we have helped tens of thousands of refugees thanks to the SOS Ukraine emergency appeal and in cooperation with partner organisations. We direct our support to those most in need—people with health or psychological problems or other specific needs. We help mothers of physically or mentally disabled children or women caring for the elderly and infirm.
Our field teams continue to provide social work and counselling in ten regions of the Czech Republic. We organise or coordinate help centres for refugees. We create opportunities that give rise to various self-help groups. In Klatovy, for example, the chance to meet compatriots for a cup of coffee grew into the activities of the Women’s Ukrainian Circle, which started cooking together and offering its catering at festivals.
We are constantly seeking to improve our existing services. For example, psychological aid workers in the Karlovy Vary region will soon be trained in a unique method of responding to trauma. As part of psychosocial assistance, we also provide individual assistance to children who, for various reasons, cannot cope with the language barrier.
We continue to monitor the situation in the hostels and address acute needs such as unpaid humanitarian benefits, finding housing, employment, accompanying and communicating with various institutions, helping with filling in forms, mediating health care, etc.
We are supporting the project for the construction of modular social housing in the town of Pečky, which, once completed, should serve mainly to accommodate people displaced from Ukraine. Pečky is a pilot project of the Home for Everyone platform, which has the ambition to become a solution to the insufficient housing capacity in other towns and cities in the Czech Republic.
We have been involved in solving the crisis related to the payment of humanitarian benefits
We are drawing attention to situations that require immediate solutions—for example, the overload of labour offices. In cooperation with other NGOs, a large number of volunteers and interpreters, we also supported the overwhelmed office in Holešovice, Prague.
Our cooperation with the Consortium of NGOs working with migrants continues. We are meeting regularly with the management of the National Assistance Centre for Ukrainians. We continue to engage in crisis management and coordination of regional assistance centres. In the future, we will focus more intensively on Ukrainian teenagers aged 15 to 18, most of whom did not get into any Czech high school.
We are supporting the provision of psychological intervention and material assistance to mothers
To meet the objectives of the SOS Ukraine emergency appeal, we have so far entered into partnerships and cooperation with 122 organisations. We continue to cover the assistance provided by the Hlavák Initiative at Prague’s Main Station to arriving refugees.
“We have supported direct material assistance directed to mothers with children in Prague. We have entered into additional partnerships with organisations providing psychological assistance to Ukrainian refugees. For example, this assistance could be provided in crisis situations of endless queues at the Labour Office in the Prague Market Hall in Holešovice. We have helped to secure the activities of organisations focused on children’s education or where they help refugees find work,” says Zuzana Ramajzlová, head of the SOS Ukraine programme in the Czech Republic.
We continue to cover the assistance provided by the Hlavák Initiative at Prague’s Main Station to arriving refugees.
On our Ukraine helpline, we are still looking for accommodation, answering questions about school attendance, and advising on the application for humanitarian benefits
The Ukrainian helpline team (770 600 800) is available to Ukrainians across the country on weekdays. With the start of the school year, the number of enquiries regarding school attendance obligations has increased. People are also contacting us concerning changes to the humanitarian benefit application process. And we are still dealing with housing difficulties or emergency accommodation.
We have opened an online course for Ukrainian teaching assistants and a new “branch for all”
With the growing number of Ukrainian children in Czech primary schools, we have individual and group tutoring. At the same time, we are recruiting volunteers from all over the Czech Republic. We are opening a new online tool “branch for all”. This online tool focuses on Czech language tutoring and supporting children’s adaptation to their new environment. Online we will also help families to navigate the education system and understand their options.
In some locations, we are preparing leisure activities and specific support for children; we are continuing with adaptation groups for children; we have prepared a short video with an important message for all Czech children and teachers; finally, we are drawing attention to the fact that Ukrainian classmates do not have to be cheerful right away and that they should be given more time.
We have completed and published an online Czech language course, “Teach me”, for Ukrainian teaching assistants working in Czech schools; more than 1,100 people have signed up so far.
AID IN MOLDOVA
€649 THOUSAND WORTH OF AID
In Moldova, we continue to support around 2,000 families who have provided shelter for those fleeing war. At the same time, we are also helping to run a helpline here, providing psychosocial assistance in Ukrainian and Russian to those most in need, as well as information about their rights and access to social and health services in Moldova. With local organization, we are planning to build digital learning space and child friendly space for Ukrainian refugee children.
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