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In the weeks since Russia launched an invasion in Ukraine, 3.6 million people have fled into neighbouring countries and 6.5 million people have been forced to leave their homes because of the armed conflict.

Since the fighting began, more than 3,000 Ukrainian civilians have lost their lives – including children. These figures are likely underrepresented and will continue to rise.

While ChildFund Alliance’s member organisation, ChildFund Deutschland, has been working in Ukraine since 2004, both ChildFund Deutschland and fellow alliance member, WeWorld, are acting quickly to provide emergency services to children and their families.

Since the outbreak of violence, ChildFund has supported five partner organisations in Ukraine to deliver relief activities. These funds support the distribution of food, medicine and basic household items that can be sent to families in need.

Working with local organisations across Ukraine, ChildFund has set up two distribution centres in the Cherkasy and Rivne regions to share vital food, hygiene, and medical supplies.

“ChildFund Australia is working alongside WeWorld, ChildFund Deutschland and other aid organisations to provide food, psychosocial support, education, and hygiene essentials, with particular attention given to children and babies who need baby food, formula and nappies,” said Margaret Sheehan, ChildFund Australia CEO.

However, many supplies are becoming scarce, especially medical supplies. The ongoing fighting is making it more difficult to buy food in the cities and food must often be transported long distances which is dangerous to do in areas where there is active fighting.

Because of the conflict and dwindling supplies, many Ukrainians continue to flee their homes. In Moldova, 89% of Ukrainian refugees are women and children. Moldova is a small country with just over four million people living there. They have welcomed 380,000 Ukrainian refugees since the crisis started and more arrive every day.

ChildFund has set up four emergency accommodation centres for refugee families. On average every family spends four weeks living in temporary accommodation. Over the next few months, they expect to support 2,800 families fleeing conflict – including over 1,000 children.

“We had to leave our apartment near Kyiv. We could only bring the most essential things and didn’t have time to take any belongings that mean so much to us. This is very sad,” said Vitalya, mother to one year old Avdey. 

With their world in turmoil, children need a safe space. ChildFund is working with a mobile team to provide psychological first aid and counselling services and creating dedicated child-friendly spaces where children can have a safe space to gather and continue to access an education.

The situation in Ukraine is evolving and changing every day, and every day children and young people are on the frontlines of violence. As we publish this story, there are allegations of war crimes in Bucha, Irpin, and Hostomel near Kyiv. Throughout the conflict there have been ongoing reports of grave violations of children’s rights. We echo the UN’s call that it is essential for all reports of violence against civilians to be independently verified.

You can help. Your support will help deliver relief as the crisis unfolds.

The Emergency Action Alliance Ukraine Appeal has warmly welcomed the Australian Government’s $2 million commitment to Ukraine, which will support 15 Australian humanitarian aid charities that have united to launch an unprecedented, centralised appeal to help those affected by the war.

This Emergency Action Alliance Ukraine Appeal makes it easier for Australians to know how to help, and ensures funds are directed to those charities best able to help.  Australians can donate to the appeal via the Emergency Action Alliance website.

In a joint media statement from Prime Minister Scott Morrison, Foreign Minister Marise Payne and other key ministers, the Government said: “to enhance the response of Australian NGOs and their partners in the region, we will provide $2 million to the Emergency Action Alliance Ukraine Appeal – funding which will attract matched private donations.”

EAA Executive Director Kerren Morris said: “We welcome the support of the Australian Government through this $2 million contribution.  This funding will be used to help attract matched private donations – thus helping to increase the impact.  Now we are asking the public to give to this appeal so we can help even more people.  The crisis in Ukraine is of such a scale that the Australian charities involved will leverage efforts together to raise more funds to assist those affected by this crisis. Families, including many children, have been forced to leave everything they know behind to find safety and desperately need food, water and shelter.  Our members are working tirelessly with local partners to reach people in Ukraine swiftly as the brutal conflict turns lives upside down.”

EAA gives Australians one single, trustworthy way to help in a time of crisis. EAA has 12 member charities responding in Ukraine and across the border in the neighbouring countries, working to meet the immediate needs of all people fleeing with food, water, medical assistance, protection and trauma care.

CEO of ChildFund Australia, Margaret Sheehan, said: “ChildFund Australia welcomes the action taken from the Australian Government to commit $2M to Ukraine, as we join forces with 15 charities to mobilise assistance, to assist families, children and young people fleeing their homes in the millions. We are collaborating closely with our partners on the ground by supplying food, basic items, temporary accommodation and psychosocial support for children and families. We continue to call for immediate ceasefire.”

CEO of EAA Member agency Tearfund, Matthew Maury, said: “This contribution from the Australian Government underscores the importance of a collective approach.  Not only are our 15 EAA charities working together to raise more funds, 12 of them are also working together on the ground, with their counterparts and partners in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries.  It is for emergencies like this, with such immense need and so many charities assisting that we established Emergency Action Alliance.  The EAA makes it easier for Australians to know how to help, and the money goes directly to those organisations best placed to provide that help.” 

The conflict in Ukraine has created Europe’s fastest growing refugee crisis since World War II.  Three million people have been forced to flee Ukraine and at least 1.85 million more have been internally displaced by the military hostilities. 

Inside Ukraine, homes have been destroyed, essential infrastructure such as water supplies, hospitals and schools have been hit. People are being forced to hide in shelters and metro stations to stay safe.

As a result, hundreds of thousands of people are crossing borders into Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova, triggering a large-scale humanitarian crisis. The majority crossing the borders are women and children arriving with only what they can carry. The UN estimates that 12 million people are in need of life-saving assistance.

Australians who want to help in this crisis are encouraged to donate via the Emergency Action Alliance website.

The EAA is made up of ActionAid, Act For Peace, ADRA, Anglican Overseas Aid, Australia for UNHCR, Australian Lutheran World Service, Baptist World Aid, Care Australia, Caritas, CBM, ChildFund, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children Australia and Tearfund Australia.

Notes to editors:
Media enquiries please call 0410457869.

We have spokespeople available in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Hungary, Moldova and Australia.   

Interview requests:  For more information or to request interviews please contact:

A collection of images and video footage of EAA member charities responding as refugees arrive into neighbouring countries is available on request.
About Emergency Action Alliance (EAA): EAA brings together 15 leading Australian aid charities at times of crisis overseas to raise funds quickly and efficiently. In these times of crisis, people in life-and-death situations need our help and our mission is to save, protect and rebuild lives through effective humanitarian response. EAA’s 15 member charities are: ActionAid, ADRA, Act For Peace, Australian Lutheran World Service, Anglican Overseas Aid, Care Australia, Baptist World Aid, Caritas, CBM, ChildFund, Oxfam, Plan International, Save the Children Australia, Tearfund and Australia for UNHCR.   
Twelve of EAA’s 15 members are either responding or planning to respond in Ukraine or in neighbouring countries and will receive funds from this appeal. Some may work through trusted local partners while others will work through their European counterparts.

Photo credit: Anthony Upton/DEC
How to donate:    
Phone: 1300 939 000
SMS: Text ACTION to 0400 662 662