By Keshav Vinod
The primary way in which other counties and people can get involved and help a country going through war is by sending aid. It can be in a plethora of forms but the fact remains that a warring country can quickly run out of basic necessities. This piece focuses on how foreign aid works, how it can help a country, and how is it being sent.
Ever since the Russian forces started their incursion into Ukraine the community at large has banned together to voice their frustration against Putin and his administration for carrying out such an attack People have come together from all over in order to help the Ukrainian people as best they can and one of those ways is by sending foreign aid.
Foreign aid is defined as the international transfers of goods, capital, and services from a country, or by a recognized international organization, to help the recipient country and the population. There are also types of aid such as military, economic, and humanitarian.
“It started as an urge to do something and now we’re taking it as big as the community will allow us to do so,” says Briana Tautiva, a co-founder of the NGO Boston aide for Ukraine. “The biggest thing we need right is now for people to share our stuff because right now we just need funds in order to send all the donations people are bringing.”
While there are numerous organizations trying their best to help out Ukraine by sending aid, there are even countries that are helping out. Most recently, the American congress approved a $40 billion aid package not just for Ukraine, but the countries that are being affected by the attempted occupation by Russian forces.
The majority of the funds have been redirected to help with humanitarian aid rather than military. Funds have been transferred to help with refugee assistance as many people fleeing are going to neighboring countries Poland and Romania.
Money is also being transferred to help with international disaster assistance which includes things like food, medicine, and other urgent humanitarian needs for the population. There have also been funds specifically allocated for economic support that is meant to help the Ukrainian budget as the normal revenue collection has broken down.
While local organizations do not have the same level of contributions, they are still trying their best to send as much as they can to Ukraine. Many organizations were even formed after the war began and were established solely to help Ukrainians.
“We didn’t exist until the war started. I used to be an NPR reporter and I had this fantasy that I would go back (Russia) and a friend of mine and I set up an NGO with our third partner,” said Anne Garrels, a co-founder of Assist-Ukraine, a grassroots organization set up to help Ukraine. “We wanted to support Ukrainians fighting for freedom in Ukraine. We made some mistakes but slowly started getting the hand of things and have made some phenomenal contacts who told us what they specifically needed.
While countries and NGOs are doing the most to help Ukrainians, another organization that has done its part is the United Nations (UN). The UN has a multitude of sub-organizations that are set up specifically for countries that are going through a war and one of those organizations is the World Food Program (WFP).
WFP is a rather newer organization that is part of the UN, which was founded in 1961, almost 20 years after the formation of the UN. WFP helps not only during times of conflict but also helps countries that are being affected by climate change, inequality, and other disasters.
WFP had launched an emergency operation that helped provide food assistance for people that are fleeing the conflict both internally in Ukraine and in the neighboring countries as well. The response also varies based on the situation the recipient country is in.
“Ukraine is, barring this situation, essentially a food supplier but the issue is based on the ground reality it wasn’t always clear whether people could get that food, but I think it is a cash-heavy program rather than a food heavy program,” says Rehan Zahid, the deputy director of the World Food Program. “So that’s what’s going on in Ukraine but Ukraine, in the beginning, is a classic example of an inability to get to people because there is too much violence or active conflict.”
Overall, the war in Ukraine has caused over 14 million people to flee their homes and is the fastest growing refugee crisis in the world, and has turned into a fully-fledged humanitarian catastrophe. While there are numerous organizations trying to help, it is a given fact that the country’s road to recovery will be a rather long and excruciating one.
“We have made some phenomenal contacts and they told us specifically what they needed. It started with trauma kits and then we moved into high-end protective gear and helmets and boots, “says Anne Garrels. “These contacts have helped us carry stuff to the border and we have couriers who move it from the border and move it wherever it is needed in Ukraine.”