Ukraine-Russia: Why money may be the kindest way to give

This week, the speed and the scale at which the crisis in and around Ukraine has developed has been overwhelming.

If not distraught, then so many of us are numb or disorientated that such a conflict has broken out in Europe. How can this be happening in our interconnected world in 2022? Yet tragically, it is.

The next reaction for many of us is how to help. The complexity and fast-moving nature of conflict and the consequent mass exodus from Ukraine should give us pause.

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What can I give, what should I give, will it make it to the people who need it most, the most vulnerable, whether they are cowering in the homes or basements in Kyiv or fleeing by train, bus, car or even on foot, such is their desperation to feel safer, to be safe?

Volunteers sort through donations for Ukraine given to Rain or Shine South Lanarkshire at Old Trinity Church in Cambuslang. Picture: Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

This is why the Disasters Emergency Committee exists, to provide a quick, reliable and effective way for people here in the UK to help those who need humanitarian aid the most.

So far, the reaction has been astonishing. In just three days, the appeal has raised more than £85 million, nearly £9m of that estimated to have been raise here in Scotland.

This money is already allowing our member agencies to rapidly increase their relief operations not only in Ukraine, but in neighbouring Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania and Moldova where people are now arriving in their tens of thousands every day.

We are hearing an overwhelming majority of elderly people in Ukraine either can’t or don’t want to leave their homes in the city. Our members will now prioritise supporting them in the best way they can.

We hope this message can get out to all those people keen to help, but are currently thinking about sending what they have in their homes via local charities. However well-intentioned, that may not be the best way to help. What may appear to be the best response today may not be what the people caught up in the crisis might need today or in the days and weeks to come.

If you haven’t already donated to the appeal, then we would urge you to do so now. The money you give will be shared with 13 of the 15 DEC members who will translate that good will into food and water supplies, shelter, blankets and warm clothing for people who haven’t yet found a temporary home. It will also be used to provide medical support and supplies for people who have been injured.

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