The War challenges the world and New Yorkers to respond to the refugee crisis.
Europe is facing a crisis in Ukraine that it hasn’t faced since World War II, with all indications that the consequences of the Russian invasion will be long-lasting. While the major current focus is on the violence of war, economic sanctions, and political issues, Catholic Charities knows from experience that multifaceted humanitarian crises always accompany war for many years to come. Ukrainians displaced within the war zone in their own country need immediate relief; those who have taken refuge in neighboring countries need critical help; relatives who have traveled as far away as New York are suddenly left stranded and cannot return home. Longer term some Ukrainian refugees who cannot return home may seek to make a new home in New York.
It is estimated that up to 4 million more may also follow in the next few months.
Aid agency experts are bracing for the impact, expecting one of the largest refugee displacement crises in years, both within Ukraine and across borders to neighboring countries. So far, more than 2 million people have fled Ukraine, according to the United Nations. It is estimated that up to 4 million more may also follow in the next few months. The United Nations estimates that an additional 12 million people inside the country will need relief and protection, with an expectation that a total of 16 million people will be displaced.
“The needs are growing as we speak,” noted Janez Lenarčič, European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. Florence Gillette, head of the International Committee of the Red Cross delegation in Kyiv, warned about the long-term impact of the conflict. Unexploded bombs, she said, will endanger people long after the fighting ends.
The world is responding. To date, the U.S. government has pledged nearly $54 million in humanitarian assistance. The European Union has announced it will provide $100 million for emergency aid programs.
Two international Catholic relief agencies, Caritas Internationalis and Catholic Relief Services, are assisting in the crisis. Caritas is supporting the humanitarian relief efforts of two in-country Caritas groups — Caritas Ukraine and Caritas-Spes. Catholic Relief Services is deploying resources to support Ukrainian families in Ukraine, Romania, Moldova, and Poland.
Catholic Charities in New York knows firsthand the value of working with Catholic Relief Services and local Caritas agencies in responding to needs in crises. Their understanding and experience of the local situations, which precedes an immediate crisis, makes their ability to step in to provide relief in meaningful, appropriate ways based on real-time circumstances.
We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, ready to participate in whatever way we can to help in resettlement efforts
“We stand in solidarity with the Ukrainian people, ready to participate in whatever way we can to help in resettlement efforts to the United States and New York. We have a long history of helping refugees including the people of Haiti, Central and South America, Iraq, and most recently Afghanistan,” said Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Executive Director of Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York, which serves a city that has the largest number of Ukrainian immigrants in the U.S.
As the Ukrainian conflict continues to unfold and people flee their homeland by the hundreds of thousands, our staff are assisting the local Ukrainian community in the New York Metropolitan area with accurate, real-time information and other supports. We stand ready to mobilize staff and any other resources to aid those impacted. In partnership with Caritas-affiliated sister agencies in impacted countries, and at home in New York, the Catholic Charities Emergency Fund will assist families resettling in New York and others impacted by crises. Your prayers and support will make a difference. Please consider making a gift today.