Six months since the start of the Russia-Ukraine war: An update from our partner

This week marks six months since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. We mustn’t forget the human cost of this ongoing conflict, but we’d also like to take this moment to recognise the extraordinary work of our ACT Alliance partner, Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA).

While the Russia-Ukraine war is no longer sprayed against every news source, the shelling and missile attacks continue, destroying critical infrastructure and leaving millions of people without access to basic lifelines.

We mustn’t forget the human cost of this ongoing conflict, but as we tick over six months since Russia’s invasion, Act for Peace would like to shine a light on the extraordinary work of our ACT Alliance partner, Hungarian Interchurch Aid (HIA).

Since the conflict began, uprooting more than 6.6 million Ukrainian refugees across Europe, HIA has delivered essential items to almost 130,000 people affected.

This support includes the provision of basic humanitarian aid, protection activities and other life-saving services both in Ukraine and Hungary, as well as transporting 6 metric tons of medicine into Ukraine.

Emergency funds raised by the Act for Peace community – over $1.1 million – are critical in helping our partner deliver this support. If you’d like to give to our emergency appeal, you can make a donation here.

A refugee shelter at a university in Lviv, Ukraine, 12 May 2022. Antti Yrjönen / FCA

Ordinary things like bread, canned meat, snacks, water, diapers, blankets and community shelters – just like the space pictured above.

For most of us, it’s the ordinary things we come home to every day. Four walls and a roof to shield you from the outdoor elements, a mattress to rest your tired body, and pillows and blankets to keep you warm through the night.

This particular shelter, at a University in Lviv, hosts around 250 internally displaced Ukrainians, most coming from heavily hit cities such as Mariupol and regions in Eastern Ukraine.

As the Response Director for HIA, Giuliano Stochino, explains, many of these people never expected to find themselves in this position.

“The difficulty for people is to accept aid. We’re talking about an extremely proud society. And our main task is to provide help in the most dignified way possible,” he says.

It’s not until ordinary things are stripped away, with no certainty of when you’ll have them again, that their extraordinariness is revealed.

Suddenly, shelter, a mattress and blankets represent so much more…

They are safety. They are a slice of normality in an abnormal situation. They are a sense of hope that whatever happens, you’re not in this alone.

Natalia and her children are among 150 Ukrainians seeking refuge at a church shelter in Lviv, supported by our Act Alliance partner on the ground. Antti Yrjönen / Finn Church Aid

While the conflict continues, we’d like to shine a light on our courageous and dedicated partner staff at HIA, out there supporting the families displaced by this conflict.

We’d also like to thank you, our extraordinary community of supporters, for coming together as one to support Ukraine.

Thank you for remembering those in Ukraine, and for seeing the extraordinary in the ordinary.

If you’d like to make a gift to help the families displaced by the conflict in Ukraine, see our emergency appeal here.

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