Three women with winter clothes and carrying luggage
© Adrienne Surprenant /MYOP

Targeting of Ukraine energy infrastructure may provoke second wave of refugee crisis

CARE warned today that the severe winter weather and ongoing deliberate attacks on civilian energy infrastructure in Ukraine threaten to kick off a second refugee crisis, as millions of Ukrainians face the prospect of having to face Ukraine’s worst winter in thirty years without heat or electricity. 

Nearly nine months into the conflict, approximately 7.9 million Ukrainians have already sought refuge in neighboring countries – some for the second time this year. In the early stages of the conflict, more than 4.7 million people had crossed the border into Poland alone. Now, with winter temperatures reaching as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit, millions of Ukrainians living in damaged housing and temporary shelters, could be facing a death sentence. 

“Attacks against electricity and heating infrastructure throughout Ukraine are abhorrent. These continued and calculated attempts to freeze Ukraine quite literally, as it faces what could be its worst winter in decades, must end,” said Michelle Nunn, CARE CEO.   

“Already, these attacks have left an estimated 14.4 million Ukrainians with no choice but to leave their homes as they face plunging temperatures – threatening a second refugee crisis over the coming weeks and months. The world must do everything in its power to ensure that winter doesn’t mean a death sentence for millions of Ukrainians,” Nunn added. 

For its part, CARE is already providing families and individuals with warm clothes, fuel, and cash to help people prepare for the winter – while in Poland, Romania and other neighboring countries, CARE is working with partners to prepare for a new wave of refugees to come across the borders. 

Similarly, CARE has also launched the “Ukraine Second Wave Fund,” where contributions can be made to support our efforts to continue delivering life-saving aid and long-term recovery assistance – both in Ukraine and the many countries experiencing the secondary impacts of the conflict.  

For media inquiries, please contact Anisa Husain, CARE Press Officer, [email protected].