The International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies this week warned a lengthy war in Ukraine will have severe humanitarian consequences for other global crises.
Devastating secondary effects from Russia’s invasion of Ukraine are already being felt six months after Russia’s invasion.
International Red Cross federation officials warned this week that the economic impact on millions of destitute people worldwide will worsen the longer the war drags on.
Ukraine was one of the world’s biggest grain exporters before the war. The Russian blockade of Black Sea ports, however, has prevented grain shipments, triggering a global food crisis. Skyrocketing food and fuel prices have made these and other essential commodities unaffordable, plunging millions of people into acute hunger.
Earlier this month, a U.N.-mediated deal allowed Ukraine to resume grain exports. Nevertheless, the Red Cross says the consequences of the war continue to be felt and will take a long time to undo.
Brigitte Ebbesen is International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies regional director for Europe. She says humanitarian needs remain acute, especially in the Middle East and Africa.
“The food crisis in Africa is something that we already are reacting to as IFRC and we are looking at in the Middle East. Buying food is increasingly difficult for a large part of the population. So, the ripple effects are enormous,” she said.
More than 100,000 local Red Cross volunteers and staff have been mobilized to provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine, seven bordering countries and 17 other countries in the region.
Speaking from Kyiv, Ukrainian Red Cross Director-General Maksym Dotsenko says 8 million people are internally displaced and more than 5 million have sought refuge in neighboring countries.
He says the conflict is likely to go on for a long time and Red Cross staff and volunteers will continue to work to provide critical aid. He says continued support from the international community also will be crucial.
“The renovation of infrastructure, the renovation of houses, the renovation of the industry will require a lot of efforts of global community of Ukrainian people. So, the needs of the civilians are crucial for now and we do not see the tendency that these needs will be decreasing, especially in this winter period,” he said.
The International Red Cross says half of Ukraine’s 44 million population will require humanitarian assistance for a long time. Even if the conflict ends soon, it says it will take years to repair the damage to cities and homes. The Red Cross also says it will take years to alleviate the mental anguish, trauma, and the physical and economic suffering the war has caused.