We don’t know how long the armed conflict will last or what needs will arise in the future. What we do know is that this is a protracted crisis which has dramatically escalated and now entered its ninth month. Even if the conflict were to cease, the physical, social and psychological impacts will be felt for years to come.
Australian Red Cross aid worker Nina Bullock has recently returned from working as Acting Operations Manager in Romania, where she helped local planning for the deepening humanitarian crisis anticipated over winter.
Nina says her work contributed to a plan to distribute $11 million in aid in advance of what was expected to be a challenging winter, 90% to Ukrainian refugees in Romania.
“The winter plan aims to help more than 10,000 people with complex needs. It builds on our work disseminating €20 million to more than 62,000 people from Ukraine in a multi-purpose cash program to December 2022. For the winter program we will seek to support people with high or complex needs, including persons with disabilities, single parents with children, unaccompanied children, older people, people with severe medical conditions, and people with very limited income.
“The plan itself is to distribute cash as a one-off payment for warm clothing, and then 4,000 households will receive a recurring cash payment for the cost of utilities for another five months. There’s also assistance for kettles and heaters, and we’ll distribute 30,000 kits which contain hygiene, food, dignity and baby supplies.”
The IFRC’s Ukraine appeal is funding the plan, which Australian Red Cross contributes to.
“Cash is so important to refugees because it means they can access the goods they need as individuals. It allows people the dignity of being able to take some control of their lives. A lot of the ability to choose flies out the window when people are under the duress of conflict. It also means we minimise waste and can meet prioritised needs. It just makes sense ethically and financially.”