How to Donate to Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine

The Russian invasion of Ukraine is inflicting terrible damage on Ukrainian civilians causing one of the largest humanitarian crises since the second world war. It is estimated that up to 18 million Ukrainian people will be affected by the war and over a quarter of the Ukrainian population will have fled their homes since the start of the conflict.

There is a desperate need to help the traumatised population of Ukraine, so we are taking a look at what humanitarian aid is available and, importantly, how people who are concerned about the unfolding tragedy in Ukraine can donate to humanitarian charities.

What is Humanitarian Aid

According to the OECD, humanitarian aid saves lives, alleviates suffering, and maintains human dignity following conflict, shocks, and natural disasters. It offers material and logistical help to people in need and often provides immediate short-term help before governments and institutions can arrange long term solutions to the care of the people affected by the conflict or disaster.

We are all too familiar with the long lines of refugees fleeing a natural disaster or conflict, but it is humanitarian assistance efforts that provides them with shelter, food, clean water, sanitation, and medical facilities. Although governments from around the world often deliver significant humanitarian aid packages, a large percentage of humanitarian assistance is provided by charities and volunteers.

Types of humanitarian Aid

With millions of Ukrainian people affected by the war with Russia, there is a huge and multi-faceted humanitarian effort required to save lives and provide shelter to so many distressed and traumatised people. Aid is urgently required needed in some of the following ways:

Logistical Support

Logistics plays a key role in the humanitarian response to conflict or a disaster. Massive quantities of materials and supplies need to be acquired and delivered to regions in which travel is likely to be challenging, particularly if it borders a war zone. Once the supplies have been delivered to a distribution hub, they then need to be distributed to people via a network of local distribution points.

Logistical and transport companies such as have a long experience in delivering disaster relief and emergency management solutions and have the ability to deliver large quantities of supplies by air to key distribution hubs where needed. Distributing supplies to local people is often undertaken by volunteers, and some volunteers are driving long distances to deliver food and supplies from the UK to Ukraine, for example.

Medical Support

Providing timely medical assistance to refugees is critical. It is not only the treatment of injuries that is important but preventing mass outbreaks of diseases such as cholera in refugee camps is critical.

Organisations such as the Red Cross, Medecins Sans Frontiers and the International Medical Corps are delivering vital medical treatments both within Ukraine to injured citizens, and to the refugees fleeing into Poland and neighbouring countries.

Food and Water

Delivering huge quantities of food is clearly critical to humanitarian assistance, however providing access to clean water supplies and sanitation (WASH) is also a vital component of aid efforts as the lack of access to clean water and basic sanitation, and low hygiene standards increase the vulnerability to epidemic outbreaks amongst refugee populations.

Charities play an important role in providing these facilities, but government institutions such as the EU also contribute significantly to these important humanitarian efforts. For example, the EU is one of the largest humanitarian donors of assistance worldwide and contributes around €200 million each year.

Refugee tent shelters in Pakistan


Shelter is vital for survival and is an essential component in protecting the privacy and dignity of affected people. Whilst the supply of temporary shelter such as tents will provide short term and scalable assistance, considerable care and experience is required to match shelter to the local conditions being faced on the ground.

For example, local weather conditions may make housing many people in tents untenable and a better solution might be to house people in mass care shelters such as civic buildings and sports centres.

Technological support

Exploiting technology is playing an increasingly important role in humanitarian assistance. Satellite imagery is now used to locate and track refugees and help calculate the numbers of affected people to assist in relief planning and logistics.

The use of powerful drones such as those supplied by is also becoming important as they can be used for searching for survivors and performing surveillance in remote and challenging environments.

Artificial intelligence is used to assess flooding, building and road damage based on satellite images and weather forecasts, allowing rescuers to distribute emergency aid more effectively and identify those in danger. It can also be used to monitor social media activity to detect early signs of distress and trends within a population which are likely to have humanitarian consequences.

How to donate to Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine

As discussed, there are many aspects of humanitarian aid, and the current situation in Ukraine creates an urgent need for all forms of assistance as millions of people are affected by the war with Russia.

Although governments play a significant role in providing humanitarian assistance, much is left to various charities who rely on donations from the public to fund their vital humanitarian efforts.

Should you wish to donate to a charity that is playing an important role in helping Ukrainians, consider donating to one or more of the following organisations:

DEC Ukrainian Humanitarian Appeal

ShelterBox Ukrainian Appeal

Medecins Sans Frontiers Ukrainian Appeal

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