Refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine are crossing the border into Poland at the Medyka border crossing. Two months into the war, more than 3 million people have fled from Ukraine into Poland. Photo: Ingebjørg Kårstad/NRC

As the needs of people fleeing Ukraine skyrocket, donors must deliver on their commitments to robust regional response

Published 05. May 2022
Statement by Dominika Arseniuk, the Norwegian Refugee Council’s Country Director in Poland, on the humanitarian pledging conference for Ukraine held in Warsaw:

“We welcome the generous pledges of USD 6.5 billion at today’s donors’ conference for Ukraine. The ongoing support of the international community is crucial not only for the people of Ukraine, but also for the neighbouring countries, hosting the largest numbers of refugees fleeing the ongoing war.

“The UN and aid organisations on the ground in neighbouring countries must do all they can to support national and local emergency and long-term relief work, and introduce robust contingency measures to ensure that people forced to flee are protected for as long as needed. The regional aid response must target everyone in dire need of assistance, including the most vulnerable people in host countries, who also suffer the economic impact of the war. This step is essential to ensure that the solidarity shown to Ukrainian refugees by the people of Moldova, Romania and Poland remains intact.

“This funding needs to reach frontline responders in a timely manner both in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries. We urge donors to simplify administrative procedures to the extent possible for local partners and international organisations working with them, as well as push for a change on the EU level to make the humanitarian funds accessible to non-governmental actors in EU member states.

“The amounts pledged must not be reallocated from other humanitarian funding pots, and should not come at the expense of other crises across the Middle East, Central, Western, and the Horn of Africa where food insecurity is reaching alarming levels.

“Donors should also support organisations working with people who fall outside of existing protection solutions and special legislation introduced in response to the war. It is crucial that the welcome provided to the people affected by the armed conflict in Ukraine is extended without any discrimination based on race, religion or ethnicity.”

Background on the conference:

A High-Level International Donors’ Conference for Ukraine was hosted by Poland and Sweden in Warsaw on 5 May 2022, in partnership with the President of the European Council and the President of the European Commission, and with participation of the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator. The aim was to mobilise substantial pledges based on the UN appeal and to discuss further arrangements towards supporting Ukraine’s efforts to handle the economic challenges created by the war.

Facts and figures on Ukraine:

  • 5.7 million people have fled Ukraine since 24 February. 7.7 million are internally displaced.
  • 16 million people inside Ukraine are estimated to need humanitarian aid. According to OHCR, there have been over 6,600 civilian casualties, with more than 3,200 civilians killed.
  • As the needs continue to grow, the UN renewed its appeal on 25 April, seeking US$2.25 billion to help 8.7 million people – more than half of them women. Over 44 % of the flash appeal is currently funded.
  • NRC has been working in Ukraine since 2014 assisting over 700,000 people through its legal aid, food security and livelihoods, WASH and shelter programmes. We launched a Ukraine Regional Crisis Response Plan on 7 March detailing plans to target 800,000 people with assistance through operations across Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova. The response plan is costed at US$82 million over the next few months.

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