Help Keep Ukraine Warm
Winter in Ukraine will be life-threatening for millions of Ukrainians currently living in homes with broken windows and doors. With no heat or electricity, they brace temperatures as low as -4 degrees Fahrenheit in many parts of the country. It is a dire situation. Now more than ever, the Ukrainian people need continued support from the global community.
The Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) is raising funds to support Ukrainians in need through their “Keep Ukraine Warm” campaign. Please consider joining the effort by donating to this vital cause.
What’s the situation on the ground? What steps can we take to change it? Watch the video and read on to learn more about how you can help to support Ukrainians in need.
So how desperate is the situation?
On November 21, 2022, Dr. Hans Henri P. Kluge, the World Health Organization’s Regional Director for Europe, made a statement about the upcoming winter in Ukraine:
“The devastating energy crisis, the deepening mental health emergency, constraints on humanitarian access and the risk of viral infections will make this winter a formidable test for the Ukrainian health system and the Ukrainian people, but also for the world and its commitment to support Ukraine.”
In his statement, Dr. Kluge also noted that about half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure is either damaged or destroyed and that, “this winter will be about survival. Thousands upon thousands of Ukrainians are living in homes decimated by missile strikes and without heat or electricity as a result of Russia’s continued targeting of critical civilian infrastructure. Homes have been severely damaged and people are living with broken windows and doors with average temperatures around 27 degrees Fahrenheit. Temperatures in parts of Ukraine tend to drop to as low as -20 degrees Celsius (-4 degrees Fahrenheit).
World Health Organization has “verified 703 attacks on health since the war began 9 months ago. This is a breach of international humanitarian law and the rules of war.” As a result of the relentless attacks on energy infrastructure, hundreds of hospitals and health-care facilities are no longer fully operational. They lack fuel, water and electricity to meet basic needs. Media are widely sharing images of Ukrainian surgeons forced to keep working with only headlamps for light. Power outages are especially detrimental to intensive care units, including neonatal care.
So yes, all reports indicate that the situation in Ukraine is truly dire.
Spotlight Ukraine also reached out to get first-hand feedback on what’s happening on the ground. Our recent blog story, “The Scale of Destruction and the Seeds of Hope,” covered some of the areas of Ukraine that have been severely damaged by missile attacks – and this was before the recent and relentless continued barrage. We shared images by historical photographer Allan Mestel that revealed evidence of Russia’s destruction of civilian infrastructure. The photos included compelling images from Serhiivka just a day after the missile strike back in July. We mentioned Alya in this article, Allan’s hometown host and volunteer who has been helping victims of the missile strike in Serhiivka. Recently it has been particularly difficult to keep in touch with Alya because of the energy crisis and lack of power. Still, we finally managed to connect last week.
“I’ve had really tough times,” she said. “Currently we have power for 3-4 hours a day. It’s when you try to warm yourself up and charge everything. We almost have no water. And yes, it’s quite cold. They use different ways to kill us or to make us leave. But we won’t leave. I think that we have to stay here to defend our place and it doesn’t matter how much we all will pay for this. We are in desperate need of some battery-powered lamps and heaters, blankets. That’s the most urgent stuff.”
Will you help to keep Ukraine warm?
In response to the challenges that are facing Ukrainians with the harsh winter, the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) launched the “Keep Ukraine Warm” fundraising campaign to raise $500,000 for winter relief items (clothes, blankets, sleeping bags), generators, wood-burning stoves, and window repairs in Ukrainian homes.
“Winter is a true test of survival for a population already under siege,” says UNWLA president Natalie Pawlenko. “For our vulnerable sisters and brothers, the freezing temperatures are yet another battle they have to fight in order to survive. We need to help them win – this battle.”
The UNWLA has been working actively with its partners on the ground to bring humanitarian aid to Ukraine since Russia launched its full-scale attack on Ukraine on February 24, 2022. For the Keep Ukraine Warm campaign, the UNWLA has partnered to deliver aid with, among others, AICM and Caritas Ukraine.
Established in 1925, the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA) is the longest-running and largest Ukrainian women’s organization in the US. Its mission is to promote and develop educational and cultural efforts and provide humanitarian assistance to Ukrainians worldwide. The UNWLA allocates funds to deliver medicine and medical equipment to hospitals, help sustain evacuated orphanages, and deliver humanitarian aid (food parcels, hygienic items, generators, etc.) to the heavily damaged areas of Ukraine. The Keep Ukraine Warm initiative aims to fund window repairs and deliver wood-burning stoves and winter relief items to communities disproportionately affected by the Russian war in Ukraine. Visit UNWLA’s website to learn more about this organization.