Caritas Australia condemns the conflict in Ukraine and calls for urgent humanitarian response from the Australian government.
“I express my deepest compassion and solidarity with the people of Ukraine, and call on the Australian Government to take urgent action to prevent further loss of life,” said Kirsty Robertson, Caritas Australia’s CEO.
“We have a duty to help prevent what might otherwise become Europe’s biggest refugee crisis since WWII – we’re talking about the very real possibility that between three and five million people will be forced to flee their homes in freezing conditions, many risking death and injury as they walk through the heavily mine-contaminated region of eastern Ukraine. This will be a dire humanitarian disaster if the world doesn’t respond fast enough.
“Behind the news coverage is the heartbreaking reality that millions of Ukrainians are now living through air raids and attacks. Three million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance after eight years of conflict.
“There is already extensive damage to basic water, gas and electricity infrastructure, and water facilities continue to be a target of attacks. Children have grown up amidst conflict and families have been separated for years.
“Access to humanitarian aid is a major concern. It’s already hard to reach some communities, and the invasion will only make it harder. At the same time, the need is going to greatly increase. This makes it even more vital for the Australian Government to respond promptly before the situation spirals out of control.
“We’re calling on the Australian Government and the Australian people to come to the aid of Ukraine, to help prevent a dire humanitarian crisis. We’re supporting Caritas Ukraine to respond, and through working with them on the ground we will help support Ukrainian families who have fled their homes with vital emergency supplies including clean water, hygiene and food kits.
“Caritas Ukraine will also support safe collection centres for families on the move, provide emergency accommodation for those who cannot shelter elsewhere, and support distressed children and families with psychological care, social workers and recreational activities.”
Donations can be made at: www.caritas.org.au/donate/emergency-appeals/ukraine/
With thanks to Caritas Australia.