World Jewish Relief Launches Urgent Appeal for Ukraine
World Jewish Relief, supported by the UK’s leading Jewish communal agencies, has launched a Ukraine Crisis Appeal in response to the rapidly deteriorating situation on the country’s border with Russia. The latest reports indicate that over 150,000 Russian troops surround Ukraine’s border, and forces have now been deployed inside Eastern Ukraine. The threat of war is very real, and for innocent civilians this could mean violence, mass displacement, the resurgence of past trauma, and basic food and fuel shortages.
We have worked in Ukraine since 1989 and today operate across the country through 29 local partners, supporting a primarily Jewish client group to find sustainable employment, and to meet the essential daily needs of older people so that they are safe, warm, and can live their final years with dignity. Last year our programmes reached 13,000 people across the country.
For the vulnerable and older people we support in Ukraine, including a generation of Holocaust survivors who have lived through decades of conflict and instability, the outbreak of war would be disastrous. They are already feeling the effects of rising tensions, spiraling utility bills and soaring living costs. People are trying to flee the conflict zone, but for the oldest and most vulnerable community members this is not an option.
What is happening in Ukraine?
In 2014, war broke out in Eastern Ukraine, killing more than 14,000 people over an 8 year period and displacing more than 1.5 million people. The conflict zone encompasses the regions of Donetsk and Luhansk, and this is where the focus of tension between Russia and Ukraine is today.
When war in Ukraine broke out in 2012, we were there for those worst affected. We supported thousands of people who had to flee their homes with food, and support finding housing and rebuilding their livelihoods, and assisted people in the conflict zone who were not able to flee. With the help of the UK Jewish community, we will be there again, meeting urgent humanitarian needs in the region.
Now, we are in close contact with our local partners on the ground and will ensure that we are responding to the most urgent needs as the crisis in Ukraine progresses. We will prioritise food, cash, medical, material and psychological support for our existing client group and be ready to assist those who are forced to flee their homes.