Old, Poor, and Disabled People Cling to Live in Ukraine: Mercy Corps – GV Wire
A leading humanitarian group, Mercy Corps, said on Thursday its biggest challenge in Ukraine was helping the elderly, poor and disabled.
The organization has aid workers in Ukraine and neighboring countries Romania and Poland. More than 2.3 million people have fled Ukraine since Russia invaded the country.
“We want to make sure we’re reaching the most vulnerable,” Mercy Corps regional director Alan Glasgow said during a virtual press conference. “We tend not to see older people in a humanitarian crisis.”
The most disadvantaged Ukrainians are often left behind
Justin Odum, program manager at Mercy Corps, is part of the Ukrainian response team in southeastern Poland, where many evacuees have fled.
“You first meet the richest refugees, people with means who can rent nice places to stay in Poland,” Odum said. “Then we saw the second wave. These people were traumatized, they had their heads down.
In Ukraine, Odum says, cars line up for miles as people try to escape shelling and other horrors of the Russian war machine.
“There is a feeling of apprehension. People are trying to get out, supplies are low,” Odum said. “Ukraine has a very old population. It is the elderly and people with disabilities who are stranded, and they end up becoming victims, ending up stranded without public services.
Glasgow says that while he is inclined not to call those who have fled the country “lucky”, many other Ukrainians have not been so lucky.
Stay behind to support those we love
Due to lack of money, resources and transportation, some Ukrainians have made the difficult decision to stay behind to care for loved ones who are unable to flee.
“A woman refused to leave because her mother was unable to move,” Odum said. “This story repeats itself over and over again.”
While Mercy Corps often works with refugees seeking help in countries like Yemen, Iran and Afghanistan, the refugees from those countries are often young people, Glasgow says.
“If you’re over 65, it’s a bit of a miracle in places like Yemen,” Glasgow said.
Watch: Mercy Corps Arrives at Ukraine-Romania Border
How does Mercy Corps help Ukrainians?
Glasgow says that despite the international community rallying to support Ukraine, institutional and governmental aid has been slow to reach the country. Thus, humanitarian aid is highly dependent on philanthropic donations.
Mercy Corps turns donations into immediate financial assistance so young families and mothers can purchase diapers, formula, blankets and food, and more. Funding also goes to local Ukrainian groups that provide people with food and medical supplies.
Additionally, Mercy Corps is using digital technology with apps like Signpost to connect people with vital information about basic services and safe routes out of Ukraine.
Mercy Corps has more than 5,400 team members living and working in 40 countries. Team members work alongside communities to help families affected by disasters, conflict and climate change.
Granville Homes teams up with Mercy Corps to send aid
Granville Homes, the parent company of GV Wire, is partnering with Mercy Corps to help Ukrainian refugees.
Earlier this week, Granville Homes pledged to match up to $20,000 in donations made to Mercy Corps for Ukrainian relief.
As of 2 p.m. Thursday, GV Wire readers had contributed more than $11,000.
To help Ukrainian refugees and civilians in need, donate here.