Wise Giving Wednesday: Ukraine Relief Adapts to Changing Circumstances
War has many unpredictable developments. How long will hostilities last? Which areas will be safe? What emergency needs are in high demand? These and other changing circumstances can create challenges for even the most experienced and knowledgeable charity relief efforts. As the war in Ukraine continues to unfold, we have seen news accounts in the past week that impact those in need. Here are some issues that have come to the attention of BBB Wise Giving Alliance.
Red Cross Warehouse Struck in Mariupol
News reports including this one from Scripps National indicated that a warehouse building in Mariupol, Ukraine that was marked with a Red Cross symbol was hit by a Russian military strike in late March. CNN noted that this was confirmed by the International Red Cross but the organization added that aid supplies from that facility had already been distributed. Ukraine officials condemned this action as a violation of the 1949 Geneva Convention. This event points to not only the danger in delivering relief in a war torn country but also demonstrates that existing aid supply efforts can be curtailed by violent acts. On the positive side, the American Red Cross announced this week that it has contributed $10 million to the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies to address the relief needs both in Ukraine and in surrounding areas.
Difficulties in Delivering Ukraine Aid
In a March 29th article, Newsweek reported that “Crucial medical supplies earmarked for Ukraine sat stranded in an Arizona warehouse for weeks after the war in the country destroyed the transport routes that charity workers relied on.” While it was noted the supplies are now finally on their way, this transportation and distribution challenge is another example of how relief organizations face unpredictable obstacles in carrying out the best of intentions.
Some Refugees Returning Home
On April 5th, the New York Times reported that a growing number of Ukrainian families that sought refuge in neighboring countries have decided to return home. The article noted that difficulties faced by Ukrainian refugees in terms of language, available space, and financial hardships are causing some to go back to Ukraine despite the risks. Some did not anticipate the war to last this long. In addition, with over 4 million Ukrainian refugees to date, neighboring countries like Poland have been flooded with an unprecedented volume of people in need.
The lessons for donors that seek to help Ukrainians is that relief aid groups need continuing assistance and are likely to welcome their support for many months to come. This also underscores that the most reliable charity relief efforts are still those with experience in handling these difficult situations.
Video of the WeekAs part of our Ukraine Relief Charity Interview series, BBB Wise Giving Alliance has produced two more videos: (1) Rebecca Milner, Chief Advancement Officer, International Medical Corps (a BBB Accredited Charity) and (2) Sean Callahan, President & CEO of Catholic Relief Services (a BBB Accredited Charity) each discuss their organization's relief efforts in and around Ukraine during the crisis in the area.
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