SINGAPORE: The first tranche of aid from the Singapore Red Cross has arrived in Ukraine, with donations to its fundraising appeal hitting about S$2 million so far.
Supplies are being distributed by the Ukrainian Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies as part of their ongoing response to the situation in the country, the Singapore Red Cross said on Friday (Mar 4).
“The SRC has been in active contact with the Ukrainian Red Cross and the IFRC on the ground situation,” it said.
Russia launched an invasion of Ukraine last week, prompting 1 million people to flee the country, according to the United Nations.
Donations to the fundraising appeal have reached about S$2 million, which includes the Government’s contribution of US$100,000.
Corporate organisations such as Credence and Frasers Property have also launched employee giving initiatives, with Frasers making an outright donation as well.
Financial technology company Revolut is “making it easy for their community to donate via their (mobile applications”, while some members of the community – including home-based bakery Little Beauties Bakes and students – are raising funds through sales.
Singapore Red Cross secretary-general and CEO Benjamin William said he was “heartened to see the outpouring of support from the people of Singapore for our humanitarian response to the crisis in Ukraine”.
He added that this is “a show of solidarity with the communities suffering heavy casualties in Ukraine”.
The Singapore Red Cross encouraged donors to send money as “cash can be used to purchase items more quickly at nearby unaffected regions”, giving flexibility in the Red Cross response coordination.
“The key challenges in delivering humanitarian aid include logistical limitations and disrupted supply chains,” it said.
“Unsolicited in-kind donations for Ukraine remain a challenge for the Red Cross Societies on the ground to handle, exacerbating capacity to store, transport and distribute it.”
The organisation also activated its “restoring family links” service to assist Singapore residents to locate their immediate family members who may have been affected by the disasters with whom they have difficulty in contacting, it added.
SUPPORT IN UKRAINE
The Ukrainian Red Cross Society has provided “lifesaving assistance” to those affected by the ongoing conflict, the Singapore Red Cross said.
More than 30,000 people already receiving humanitarian aid from the Red Cross stockpile, which includes hygiene and food kits, as well as warm clothes and medicine.
The Ukraine Red Cross Rapid Response Units are also supporting fire brigades and state emergency services in repairing damage to civilian buildings and infrastructure, saving more than 50 lives.
Additionally, they are working at “congested border crossing points”, where they arrange places for mothers and children, provide essentials - such as water, food and hygiene items – and assist in the evacuation of civilians from places where shelling takes place.
They also organise “collection points for essentials in the regions to be handed over to those who need them now”, as well as distribute food and water to the 8,000 people taking shelter at Kyiv’s metro stations and 4,000 people staying in shelters in the city of Mariupol.
“Red Cross Societies in neighbouring countries such as Poland, Romania, Lithuania, Hungary and Slovakia have provided humanitarian support at the border, distributing food items, water, non-food items, hygiene products, and communication services, where over 500,000 people have fled Ukraine,” the Singapore Red Cross said.
Mr William added that their team “has been working closely with the Ukrainian Red Cross, IFRC and other National Societies to provide assistance to address the most pressing needs”.
“Much of the focus will be on the vulnerable, including children (many who are unaccompanied), single women with children, the elderly, and people with disabilities,” he said.
“The combination of an active and bloody conflict, extreme cold weather and COVID-19 means that for the people in the conflict regions and those who have been displaced from their homes (already exceeding 1 million), the days ahead will be a struggle for survival.
“The essential needs continue to increase day by day. Only through the collaborative effort of many parties, including we in Singapore, can we effectively reach out to meet the needs of the affected persons and communities.”