London, 26 February 2022 - As the conflict in Ukraine rapidly escalates with devastating humanitarian consequences for millions, Hope and Aid Direct (HaAD) has launched an appeal to provide essential aid to displaced people and people fleeing to seek safety. The refugee charity also calls upon the UK government to welcome Ukrainian refugees and to reassess the Nationality and Borders Bill.
Charles Storer MBE, Head of Operations for HaAD said "With experts believing millions could be displaced, the UK should be ready to give a comprehensive response to the Ukrainian people in search of safety.
When people are fleeing to protect their lives, there is no time to apply for a visa. We have yet to see an announcement of a resettlement scheme or other measures for refugees, despite offers of help from numerous other countries.
Yesterday the Home Office put out a briefing explaining how refugees travelling through third countries would be sent back under their Nationality and Borders Bill. Third country route is the only way Ukrainian refugees can conceivably get here.
We need safe legal routes and an asylum system that is fit for purpose but we are far from it. The unfolding crisis in Ukraine reminds us once again why the UK government should reconsider this harmful Bill which could punish people seeking asylum if they have had to take irregular journeys to protect their lives”.
UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, estimates as many as 4 million Ukrainians could be forced to flee, with over a 100,000 already leaving their homes and tens of thousands crossing into neighbouring countries.
Almost three million people were already in dire need of humanitarian assistance as of January 2022, according to a recent ACAPS report. With 1.6 million people fleeing separatist controlled areas and a further 1.46 million registered Internally Displaced Persons in the country, supporting the local NGOs who provide vital aid is of the utmost importance.
HaAD is rapidly coordinating a response to this crisis with their long-term local partners, who already have well established relationships in Ukraine, Moldova and Romania. HaAD are urgently clarifying needs and the locations where the needs are greatest in all of the surrounding countries.
Mr Storer added:
“We ask the British public to donate to our fundraising appeal and help us ensure our regional partners can be ready to meet demands as the conflict continues. All funds are ring-fenced for aid projects in Ukraine and/or neighbouring countries”.
The charity also welcomes life sustaining and essential aid donations by companies.
HaAD was founded in 1999 as a Balkans-focused humanitarian aid charity. Since 2015, HaAD’s focus has been the refugee crisis across Europe. All their work is undertaken by unpaid volunteers.
People can donate and find out more at https://www.hopeandaiddirect.org.uk/Appeal/ukraine