EDP appeal: How your funds help devastated families fleeing war in Ukraine
- Credit: Anthony Upton/DEC
Generous EDP readers have raised thousands of pounds through our appeal to help victims of the war in Ukraine.
SARAH HUSSAIN reports on how your money will be spent to help those in need...
Families have been left devastated and torn apart by the war in Ukraine - forced to make heart-breaking decisions to flee their homes and loved ones to find safety in neighbouring countries.
People like 14-year-old Samad* have been faced with the unimaginable after escaping violence in Afghanistan only to be caught up in another conflict in Ukraine just eight months later.
Samad along with his father, mother and two siblings thought they would be safe in Ukraine when they sought refuge in the country after the Taliban took control of Afghanistan last year.
The Afghan family fled their home and spent three days outside an airport in Kabul before being allowed to board an evacuation flight, which took them to Ukraine, where his father Mohammad* used to live and work.
He had settled into life in eastern Ukraine - started school, made friends and began to learn the language, when Russia invaded.
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He said: “It was just like this in Kabul.
"A lot of people wanted to leave Kabul and go to a peaceful place.
"And [in Ukraine], a lot of people wanted to leave and go to a peaceful place, for their children, for themselves."
His father said: “My family came here for peace. But when they heard fighting would start here… nobody could believe it.
"That there would be bombing, there would be fighting. But it was real. It was not a dream."
The family are now being supported by Save The Children, which is providing refugees with advice, food and clothing, and are staying at a reception centre in Suceava in Romania.
Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) member charities are supporting many others fleeing from Ukraine at the borders of neighbouring countries.
Kalyna*, 59, from Chervonohrad, was brought to safety at the Dołhobyczów recpetion centre in Poland by volunteers who drove evacuation buses from the war-torn country.
Elsewhere, Kristina*, 30, from Zaporizhzhia, and her family found safety and aid at Lwowska reception centre in Przemyśl. They fled their home after spending five days in the basement because of shelling.
She said: "We managed to get on the train for Lviv. It was very scary on the train. We thought it could be bombed. There was so much crying all the time."
The war in Ukraine has forced more than 2.5 million people to flee their homes to escape heavy fighting, shelling and air strikes.
Huge numbers of people have been arriving at the country's borders with Poland, Romania, Hungary, Slovakia and Moldova with only what they can carry.
In response to this humanitarian crisis, the EDP launched its Aid for Ukraine Appeal to raise vital funds for the DEC to help its member charities scale up their response and help families and children affected by the war.
Teams are operating in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries to reach people swiftly and offer food, water, medical assistance, shelter and trauma care.
And funds raised for the appeal helps families, including many children, who have been forced to leave everything they know behind to find safety.
The DEC's Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal has raised more than £150m in a week, including £25 million matched by the UK government.
Gabriela Alexandrescu, CEO of Save the Children Romania, said: “Children and families across Ukraine are facing impossible decisions every day.
"The choice between retreating below ground to try and survive a terrifying onslaught or abandoning everything and escaping as conflict rages is one no parent should have to make.
“Many people originally from outside Europe are fleeing Ukraine and they need Europe’s help and protection.”
How you can help
The EDP is calling on readers in Norfolk and Waveney to help raise vital funds for DEC to allow its members to meet urgent needs of those displaced and "rebuild lives in the months and years to come".
Generous supporters of this newspaper have so far raised more than £8,600 for the cause.
To donate visit justgiving.com/fundraising/edp-ukraine
*pseudonyms have been used to protect identity.