Vital resources such as water have long been in short supply in eastern Ukraine. With the start of the war, the situation has worsened considerably. Countless water pipes have been damaged by the fighting. It is almost impossible to repair them - the danger from constant shelling is too great. Meanwhile, many places in eastern Ukraine have been completely cut off from the water supply.
"In addition to the ongoing danger from attacks, Ukrainian civilians must cope with increasingly scarce vital resources. Water has become a highly contested commodity. People are dehydrated, they have to collect rainwater or resort to melting snow," says Andrea Barschdorf-Hager, executive director of CARE Austria.
CARE's partner organization People in Need has sent a loaded truck full of water containers directly from the Czech Republic. More trucks will follow shortly. In many parts of the country there are wells with water, but hardly any possibilities to store the water. Therefore, containers are provided to store water from underground wells and reservoirs. In places where there are no local water sources, drinking bottles are distributed or tankers are sent.
Seven trains carrying food, hygiene items, sleeping bags, mattresses and medical aid have already arrived in the city of Dnipro. Other relief supplies have been transported in trucks to Kharkiv, the Donetsk region and other places in the east. As soon as the humanitarian corridor is open, relief supplies will be sent to the hard-pressed port city of Mariupol.
CARE and People in Need are supplying the dozens of collective shelters in the west with blankets, sleeping bags, mattresses, kitchen utensils, stoves, pots, food, baby food and hygiene kits. A psychosocial counseling center has also been established. Through it, affected people can talk to specialized personnel. A mobile counseling team is also available to visit remote locations, for example.
"Many of the people in the collective shelters have experienced significant trauma. They have been forced to hide from attacks. They have said goodbye to loved ones or witnessed violence and the suffering that goes with it," Barschdorf-Hager said.
About CARE: Founded in 1945, CARE is a leading humanitarian organization fighting global poverty. CARE has more than seven decades of experience helping people prepare for disasters, providing lifesaving assistance when a crisis hits, and helping communities recover after the emergency has passed. CARE places special focus on women and children, who are often disproportionately affected by disasters. To learn more, visit www.care-international.org.
As part of the Ukraine response, CARE International is currently partnering with People in Need, one of the largest non-governmental organisations in Eastern Europe and has provided humanitarian aid in the affected regions of Ukraine since the beginning of the conflict in 2014. CARE is also working with its long-term partner of 20 years SERA - a child protection focused organization - in Romania to deliver assistance to those fleeing into Romania from Ukraine. In addition, CARE is coordinating with aid organizations in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to scale up the humanitarian response where our expertise can be of added value.