Ukraine Relief: Two Years Into the War, Response Continues

More than 1,900 tons of medical aid have been provided in response to the war in Ukraine over the past two years, and more than $42 million in financial assistance has gone to health providers offering services to impacted patients.
Feb 23, 2024 2:05 PM ET

February 24, 2024, marks two years since Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Believed to have so far claimed several hundred thousand lives, including those of tens of thousands of civilians, this violent and destructive war shows no signs of ending.

Apart from the devastating human losses, the damage inflicted on Ukraine over these past two years is immense: according to the World Bank’s newly published damage and needs assessment, as of December 31, 2023, the total cost of reconstruction and recovery in Ukraine is $486 billion over the next decade.

In health care, the damage has been near-ruinous in the most war-affected parts of the country. Overall, the health sector has so far sustained approximately $1.4 billion in damage, rising to a staggering $17.8 billion if including the removal of debris, demolition of destroyed facilities, and other losses.

Of the 9,925 public facilities in the sector prewar, 1,242 have been partially or fully damaged. The destruction was especially severe in the eastern Donetsk and Luhansk regions, and the neighboring Kharkiv region, which also borders Russia. Additionally, 787 pharmacies were damaged or destroyed.

The dire health care situation was exacerbated by the huge movement of people since the start of the war. In addition to the 6.5 million people who have fled and remain outside of Ukraine since February 2022, an estimated 3.7 million remain internally displaced, placing a huge strain on healthcare facilities in more protected parts of the country.

While many refugees have since returned to their country, the humanitarian crisis and human tragedy are deepening as attacks on Ukraine’s energy infrastructure, homes, and health facilities continue to kill and injure people and cause widespread psychological trauma.

Against this stark backdrop, Direct Relief ramped up the largest humanitarian aid response in its 75-year history and has continued to assist its core partners in Ukraine, including the Ministry of Health, with more than 1,900 tons of medical aid, valued at $1.1 billion wholesale, to support the efforts of health workers and community organizations. The organization has also provided more than $42 million in financial assistance to groups offering essential health services in response to the prolonged crisis.

As the war continues, Direct Relief is focused on rehabilitation services for war-injured people, psychosocial and mental health services, support of emergency, specialized, and primary care and support for making health care mobile as people continue to move throughout the country, and resilient power to sustain continuous health services.

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