Integral Responds to the Ukraine Crisis

Photo: © Jana Čavojská
This photo was taken on the Ukraine / Slovakia border, 1 March 2022

Seventeen Integral Members have opted into this Integral joint response.

At least 550 civilian casualties, including 142 deaths, have been recorded by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) between 24 to 28 February, with actual figures likely to be much higher [Source here]. Civilian infrastructure damage continues to increase daily, meaning that parts of the country are on the brink of a humanitarian catastrophe. [Source here]. 

The challenges are multiple – water infrastructure is severely damaged, critical hospital services are threatened by constant power outages, oxygen supplies are running dangerously low, with most hospitals at risk of exhausting their oxygen reserves. Safe and sustained provision of essential medical supplies and access to medical aid is critical, as quite part from causalities of the conflict, around 1,700 patients are currently in hospitals across the country with COVID-19.

A mass internal displacement of people continues in below freezing winter temperatures. There is a growing need for food, water and shelter. It is estimated that more than I million people have now fled to neighbouring countries, most of whom are women and children, and those over 65 years of age.  The number of people fleeing Ukraine is expected to continue to rise steeply in coming days – UNHCR estimate that up to 4 million people could leave the country.

Martin Griffiths, the Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator remarks at the launch of the Ukraine Flash Appeal 2022, 1 March 2022, “We must not forget that the latest violence comes on the back of eight years of a conflict in eastern Ukraine, which had already left 3,000 people dead and nearly 3 million people needing humanitarian assistance and protection in that region.” [Source here]

Allan Bussard, CEO of Integral Member Integra in Slovakia, is currently hosting refugees. He says, “Living in Slovakia which borders Ukraine, we are seeing first-hand the suffering as traumatised people stream through our country. Yesterday, a woman with her 13-year-old daughter showed up in our home after four days on the road. She had 15 minutes to decide, “Should I stay or go?”. She left behind two grown sons who stayed to fight. To get a feeling for the suffering, one only needs to multiply her story 500 thousand times.”

Integral Members are responding in a number of ways. Access into Ukraine is very difficult at this point, and Members are working with their Partners throughout the region to provide immediate relief for those who have been displaced. Two Members have deployed emergency teams to respond to the needs of refugees in the border areas of neighbouring countries. A number of Members are launching fundraising campaigns to support the work of fellow Integral Members and their Partner organisations.

Allan remarks, “The scope of the need will soon be overwhelming, and I cannot imagine trying to respond without the backing of the Integral Alliance.”

In the initial stages of an Integral response, calls are held as frequently as necessary, so that Members can share information in the critical phase when needs are acute. The Integral online platform enables Members to share photos and stories, response plans and funding needs.