Lviv Train Station, Ukraine
War in Ukraine

Responding as millions of people flee war in Ukraine

Last update: 6 May 2022.

Overview

Following continuous low-level conflict in eastern Ukraine, in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts (provinces) since 2014, in late February 2022, Russian forces attacked multiple cities across all of Ukraine, leading to full-scale war.

The intense fighting and shelling have led to nearly 6 million people leaving Ukraine and becoming refugees.<p><span class="[ block ]">According to UNCHR: <a href="https://data2.unhcr.org/en/situations/ukraine/location?secret=unhcrrestricted.%20">Operational Data Portal, Ukraine Refugee Situation</a></span></p> MSF teams had been working in eastern Ukraine and have now suspended our usual medical activities, including our HIV and tuberculosis programmes.

As war escalates across Ukraine and people flee, our teams are stepping up our response, both in Ukraine and in neighbouring countries.

Map of MSF activities in Ukraine-EN 05 May
General map from Ukraine with JUST MSF activities - English
MSF/Jorge Montoya

Ukraine

Across Ukraine, people remaining in cities under attack, including Mariupol, face incredible hardship; they live without heating or electricity, food or clean water, or medicines. Hospitals are consistently in danger of running out of supplies, especially for those for surgical, trauma, emergency room and intensive care unit needs. However, other key medical items are also needed, including insulin for diabetes patients, and medicines for patients with chronic diseases such as asthma, hypertension or HIV.

MSF response

We currently have over 170 international and more than 400 Ukrainian staff working in response to the war in Ukraine. More staff, Ukrainian and international, join the team every day. They work as medical staff (surgeons, doctors, nurses); psychologists; in logistics and administration; and management.

Our teams are currently based in Berehove, Bila Tserkva, Dnipro, Ivano-Frankivsk, Kharkiv, Kyiv, Lviv, Mukachevo, Odesa, Poltava, Pokrovsk, Uzhhorod, Kropyvnytskyi, Vinnytsia and Zhytomyr.

We are in contact with hospitals across the country, providing supplies and training as needed. MSF has now donated most medical supplies we had in the country; additional supplies continue to arrive. Our current response includes:

  • Rushed over 460 metric tons of medical supplies and other relief items to Ukraine.
  • Donating supplies to hospitals in Kyiv, Odesa, Zhytomyr, Cherniv, Bilal Tserkva, Fastiv, Mykolaiv, Kropyvnytskyi, Vinnytsia oblast and parts of eastern Ukraine, including Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Pokrovsk, and Kramatorsk, to treat war-wounded and other medical needs.
  • Providing patient care on board two medical trains, developed with Ukrainian Railways. The medically equipped carriages help us to evacuate patients out of hospitals close to active warzones and refers them to hospitals away from the frontlines. One train is able to provide basic levels of medical care and carry up to 50 patients. Another train is able to carry around 26 patients but is equipped to provide intensive care unit-level aid for patients in serious condition. So far, the two trains have evacuated 420 patients.
  • Training hospitals to deal with mass casualty incidents (a large number of patients arriving at the same time) and to treat war wounds in hospitals across Kyiv, Odesa, Zhytomyr, Lviv, Vinnytsia, Bila Tsverka, Berehove and Mukachevo, Dnipro, Fastiv, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, and in eastern Ukraine.
  • We are providing medical care, including mental health care, via mobile clinics in locations in and around Chernihiv; on the ground and at subway stations in Kharkiv; at the displaced people reception centre and in shelters throughout Zaporizhzhia; in Dnipro, Sumy, Borodianka, Kulichivka and Andriivka; and along the border with Hungary.
  • We’re providing training to paramedics and first responders in Kropyvnytskyi.
  • Teams are also providing training to health centres in the periphery around Kyiv on supporting people with chronic diseases and other non-trauma medical needs.
  • Also in Kyiv, we’ve established a telephone hotline that enables people with non-communicable diseases, especially the elderly and vulnerable, to get their medication delivered at home.
  • In Odesa, an MSF anaesthetist/resuscitator is providing training to general practitioners and nurses who may be called upon to take immediate charge of the oblast's inhabitants.
  • Providing basic healthcare – medical consultations, prescribing medicines, treating illnesses and injuries, managing chronic conditions – to people in Hostomel, and to elderly people and people with chronic diseases in Makariv and Fastiv.
  • In Lviv, we are providing support to one of the larger hospitals to run its burns unit.
  • We have installed water filters in metro stations in Kharkiv, to secure clean water for people sheltered in them.
  • We are providing care for people’s mental health in Vinnytsia, Hostomel, Ivano-Frankivsk, Zaporizhzhia and along the border with Hungary where our teams are seeing that mental health support is a high priority.
  • For hospitals close to the frontlines in Donetsk oblast, we are providing logistical support through generators and solar power, so they can have their own autonomous supply of electricity and clean water.
  • In Pokrovsk, we’re providing extra surgical capacity and surgical training for hospitals in the surrounding area.
  • In Dnipro and Provosk and surrounds, we’re running a hospital to hospital ambulance referral service to medically evacuate patients.
  • In Zhytomyr, we’re gradually returning to a resumption of our former activities supporting the treatment of drug-resistant tuberculosis.
  • In Mykolaiv, MSF is also funding the work of local volunteers who bring medical and logistic equipment in and out of the besieged city.
  • We’ve donated relief and cold weather items (sleeping bags, warm clothes, tents) for displaced people in Lviv and Kropyvnytskyi.
  • In the towns of Uzhhorod and Ivano-Frankivsk, near the Slovakian border, we are assessing the health facilities and establishing a network for support for medical donations and kits with non-food items, such as soap and blankets, for internally displaced people.
  • Sending experienced emergency and specialist medical staff to Ukraine to support our existing teams
  • Supporting hospitals and doctors remotely, including through providing training on trauma care, and via telemedicine means

MSF is working to provide medical and humanitarian response in various parts of the country, based on where we see the greatest need and the best opportunity for our assistance to have a significant impact.

Poland

So far, our operations in Poland remain modest, as there is already a significant response from Polish NGOs.

  • Our emergency teams are at the Polish-Ukrainian border assessing medical humanitarian needs;
  • MSF donated shelter-related items to the Red Cross in Lublin, Poland, located about 100 kilometres from the Ukraine-Poland border;
  • MSF teams are also based in Poland to support our activities in Ukraine with supplies of medicines and medical equipment.
Border crossing with Ukraine
Refugees who escaped from Ukraine try to keep warm in a makeshift camp on the Polish side of the Ukraine-Poland border. Hrebenne, Poland, 1 March 2022.
Maciej Moskwa

Hungary

In Hungary, we provide basic medical care and mental health care to refugees who’ve crossed the border, via mobile clinics we run in partnership with local organisations and with the support of Hungarian doctors.

Moldova

MSF has teams in Moldova at the border crossing points with Ukraine, assessing the situation of refugees who make their way across. Other activities include:

  • In Palanca, on the southeastern border with Ukraine, we are providing basic healthcare consultations and mental health first aid to people. We have also provided basic needs, such as blankets, to refugees.
  • On the northern border with Ukraine, in Otaci, we have opened a medical post where we provide basic healthcare and mental health care. We are also training local volunteers in providing mental health first aid to refugees.
  • Our mental health team has also provided mental health first aid to people in reception facilities in the capital, Chișinău.
  • Also in Chișinău, we are conducting assessments in different hospitals in the city to evaluate how to improve access to health care for refugees.
Ukrainian refugees in Palanca
An MSF staff member prepares the pharmacy of a medical consultation point teams have established at the Palanca border crossing point. Palanca, Moldova, 10 March 2022.
Maxime Fossat

Slovakia

  • We have signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the Ministry of Health to ease the import of medical supplies and enable the scale up of our work;
  • We are training Ministry of Health staff on providing treatment for victims of sexual and gender-based violence and for TB and MDR-TB.

Russia

MSF already works with health authorities in Arkhangelsk and Vladimir regions of Russia to reduce the burden of drug-resistant tuberculosis (DR-TB) and improve treatment.  

We have an assessment team in the south of Russia, to see whether new medical humanitarian needs have emerged.

In Rostov, we have donated items such as food, hygiene kits and medicines to support some of the more than 270,000 refugees who have crossed into Russia.

In our projects in Moscow and Saint Petersburg, where we are partnering with local NGOs to support vulnerable groups, we’ve seen an increase of Ukrainian people living with HIV and hepatitis C who are stranded in Russia and cannot get refills for their antiretroviral medicines.

Belarus

In Belarus, an MSF assessment team has moved to areas of the Belarus-Ukraine border to assess potential medical and humanitarian needs.

We continue to run our regular programmes. We support the national tuberculosis programme and hepatitis C treatment in prisons.

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