Last week marked three months since the start of the war in Ukraine, and tragically, the conflict shows no signs of abating. The war has pushed millions of people from their homes, creating the fastest-growing displacement crisis since the second world war. Nearly 13.2 million have been displaced internally or across borders since the beginning of the war.

How Depaul is responding

Within days of the war starting, our first aid trucks crossed the border from Slovakia into Ukraine. Our community contacts told us where the need was greatest, and we delivered. We didn’t need to start the long process of hiring staff and working out how we could safely operate in areas of conflict – the community networks were already in place with our staff and volunteers ready to help.

Volunteer cyclist delivering food to the homebound.

Where there’s a will, there’s a way

While never reckless, we were willing to take risks. When the roads were too dangerous to travel, we used the rail network. When we heard that aid was starting to get through to the cities, but the people in villages had nothing, we helped set up more than 40 rural and suburban food distribution points. When we learned that the elderly and disabled were still living in bombed out buildings and unable to access food, we began using volunteer cyclists to reach them and now provide a lifeline to more than 700 people a day. When life-saving medical supplies were needed, but other agencies couldn’t deliver them, we provided transport for 12,000 tourniquets and 5,000 medical kits.

This week we passed the 500th tonne of aid delivered milestone, and at the end of last month, we were able to confirm that our amazing team of volunteers are now providing food for 8,000 people a day.

We couldn’t have done it without you

None of this would have been possible without the generosity of people across the world who gave so generously to our appeal. Aside from the generous funding we have received from the DEC and our friends at CAFOD, our Ukraine Appeal has raised a phenomenal £2.5 million to date – not just from the UK, but from Ireland, the USA and over a dozen other countries around the world. Every donation, big or small, means so much to us, and our friends and colleagues in Ukraine.

Shelter residents preparing soup for those living in bomb shelters.

Looking to the future

While the war continues, the need for humanitarian aid will continue to grow, and even sustaining our current levels of 80-100 tonnes per week will be no mean feat. But we are also starting to plan what comes next. We know that people will need significant help to deal with the effects of trauma, financial and practical support for those who have lost their homes, help with employment and benefits, legal assistance for those who have lost all their identity documents, and so much more. We have over 30 years’ experience of helping people with all these challenges and are well-placed to deliver this support, but we are going to need all the financial help we can get.

On behalf of Depaul International, Depaul Ukraine and the entire Depaul family, thank you for your continued support.