Since late February, the conflict in Ukraine has put more than 2.7 million of its citizens and residents with disabilities and their families in potentially dangerous situations. Many of these people are unable to leave their area for a variety of reasons such as access to transportation, including accessible transportation, and reliance on powered devices for mobility, respiration, and other functions. Shelters may be inaccessible or unable to accommodate service animals. Many people are living in institutional settings which may be cut off from power, heat, water, and food. Caregivers and direct support professionals are also at risk. For those who are able to leave, they may encounter barriers outside the country such as finding accessible short- and long-term housing, access to medications, and assistive technology they need for mobility, dexterity, or communication.
Several organizations are actively working to learn more about the status of people with disabilities in Ukraine and to provide assistance, either to stay in place or relocate for safety. Visit these websites to learn more:
- Fight for Right, an organization run by Ukrainians with disabilities which focuses on activating the principals of the UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities within Ukraine.
- The Partnership for Inclusive Disaster Strategies, a US led organization focused on equity and inclusion in disaster response around the world.
- European Disability Forum inclusive emergency response collection includes guidelines and standards, practical and ready-to-use tools for responders and community organizations, and good practice examples.
- The UN High Commission on Refugees HELP Ukraine which provides information for refugees and asylum seekers.
- The Global Alliance for Disaster Resource Acceleration, led by the World Institute on Disability, which is helping to connect disability organizations and allies to identify needs and accelerate assistance and resources during and after disasters, both natural and man-made.
Many organizations are seeking donations, both financial support and donations of clothing and equipment. Unfortunately, not every request is legitimate. Learn how to avoid scammers pretending to raise money in this and other emergencies in these articles and videos from Fortune Magazine, CNBC, and KKTV (Colorado).
You may also be interested in these articles from our Spotlight blog about preparedness and inclusive disaster and emergency response:
- Prepare to Protect: Low- and No-Cost Preparedness Resources:
- Emergency Preparedness by Disability series:
- Inclusive Disaster Preparedness – Progress Made and Progress to Come (research)
- Everyone Can Help Their Community Prepare (volunteering)
- After the Disaster – Recovery
- Help in a Crisis – Psychological First Aid