The tragic conflict in Ukraine has swiftly become a crisis on multiple levels. As well as the direct casualties of war, the humanitarian crisis within the country is escalating, as many are trapped in bunkers and underground stations without food and access to fresh water. Over one million people are estimated to have fled the country in search of safety, creating a refugee crisis of huge scale.
This can feel debilitating for those of us at a distance. We wanted to draw together some of the ways we can be part of supporting those whose lives have been devastated by the conflict.
As people of faith, we believe that prayer has power. Even at a distance, we can continue to hold those caught in the conflict in our prayers, committing their safety to God, and pray for peace. Here are some resources which might help you pray for the situation as it unfolds:
A number of humanitarian aid initiatives have been established to deliver immediate and urgent support to people in Ukraine and refugees in the surrounding countries. We have listed a number of these below. This is not an exhaustive list, and you may choose to donate with an organisation you already have a relationship with:
The Disasters Emergency Committee is a coalition of over 15 aid organisations. Their appeal will be matched pound for pound by donations from the UK Government’s previously allocated funds.
In many areas, people are mobilising locally to collect goods to take to Ukraine and surrounding countries. It’s important to note that whilst in-kind donations, of resources, clothes and essential supplies, can be a valuable way of helping, they can sometimes generate additional work and complications for those on the ground. For many organisations, financial donations are often most appreciated.
Unfortunately, the widespread use of social media and quick access to information can mean the rapid spread of misinformation. If you’re unsure about the reliability of information you’re reading, you can head to Share Checklist and go through their guidelines.
Over a million people have already been displaced as a result of the conflict. These individuals and families need urgent support, and there are a number of ways we can help.
Write to your MP: The UK has announced temporary visa concessions to allow the immediate family members of British nationals who usually live in Ukraine, and of Ukrainians settled in the UK, to apply for a free family visa to come to the UK. The only other current route is for people to apply to work, visit or study in the UK, if they are able to reach a neighboring country to apply.
The Home Secretary also announced a new ‘humanitarian sponsorship pathway’, which will allow Ukrainians without family in the UK to be matched with individuals, charities, community groups and businesses to be sponsored to live in the UK. However, the details on this are still being worked out.
At the same time, the government are pushing through the Nationalities & Borders Bill, which will severely impact Ukrainian refugees who are unable to access a ‘safe route’ to the UK.
Write to your MP, to ask them to urgently make changes to the Nationality & Borders Bill and to widen safe routes by which refugees can come to the UK, in order to enable us to respond to the need of over one million people who have already fled Ukraine.
Sign the petition: Hundreds of thousands of people are calling on Boris Johnson to open up safe routes for Ukrainian refugees to come to the UK. This petition by Freedom From Torture urges the government to make urgent changes to enable the UK to welcome Ukrainian refugees. Click here to find the petition.
Homes for Refugees
The government have launched a new scheme, where individuals can register to host a Ukrainian national for at least six months. They need to offer a bedroom in their home or other self-contained accommodation.
As part of the scheme, hosts need a named refugee or family they would like to sponsor. If you would like to host but do not have this connection, use Reset UK’s matching scheme, Homes for Ukranians. Click here to find out more.
If you are interested in Community Sponsorship more generally, and supporting refugees from around the world, take a look at Reset UK.