Australian donors have given more than $12 million to Australia for UNHCR in order to assist the United Nations in helping refugees from the war in Ukraine, with protective services, financial assistance and essential items.
Australia for UNHCR national director Naomi Steer said the refugee agency run by the United Nations is grateful for the support but that the global body’s efforts to help refugees has not got sufficient funds.
One-third of Ukrainians have been forced to leave their homes as a result of the conflict that began on February 24, with it becoming the largest population displacement in the world.
It is estimated that about eight million people have been displaced in Ukraine and 13 million people are estimated to be in areas they cannot leave because of security risks, bridges and roads that have been destroyed, and the lack of information for those individuals and families who are stranded on how to get out.
“Australia for UNHCR has raised more than $12 million thanks to the generosity of donors. This is the most money the organisation has raised for an emergency appeal in its 22-year history,” Steer said.
“However, the reality is that UNHCR is still only 56% funded for this crisis and we need ongoing support to reach the most vulnerable.”
The war has kept the refugee agency busy, with 196,769 people receiving protective assistance from the refugee agency as well as 450,025 people getting essential items, clothes, shelter materials and food assistance.
There are 362,060 people who have registered to receive cash payments, with 166,630 people receiving payments from the refugee agency.
Humanitarian convoys have made it through to some of the hardest-hit areas, Australia for UNHCR said, with 68,204 people being helped. There were also 51,565 sleeping places either created or improved in a total of 174 centres.
“The work of the agency’s staff on the ground has been tireless and courageous and we remain determined to reach as many people as possible in the coming months and years,” Steer said.
These funds donated are in addition to the military and humanitarian aid provided by the Australian government, such as the Bushmaster armoured vehicles the Ukrainian government requested when president Volodymyr Zelenskyy addressed the Australian parliament earlier this year.