CBM commits €2.1 million in humanitarian aid for persons with disabilities in Ukraine and neighbouring countries over the next 12 months.
In the strongest possible terms, CBM and the European Disability Forum (EDF) express our support and solidarity with the people of Ukraine. CBM and EDF are closely monitoring the situation and are now scaling efforts to ensure persons with disabilities and their representing organisations (OPDs) are supported in the response and recovery.
CBM has committed €2.1 million in humanitarian assistance to support Ukraine and neighbouring countries over the next 12 months.
With this, CBM aims to improve the situation of persons with disabilities, the nearly 6.5 million persons that have been forcefully displaced and the more than three million refugees affected by this crisis.
The focus of CBM's aid provision to EDF is:
- Support persons with disabilities in collaboration with OPDs to identify their needs and link them to available services including evacuation transportation, barrier-free accommodation, food, medical support, hygiene products and technical equipment like wheelchairs.
- Advocate for disability inclusion in the broader humanitarian response in Ukraine and countries of the European Union as people flee the war (now over 4 million children and adults).
- Ensure recovery of persons with disabilities, and build the capacity of the disability movement in the long-term.
Persons with disabilities are at greater risk
In any humanitarian crisis, persons with disabilities face a disproportionate risk of abandonment, violence, death, and lack of access to safety, relief, and recovery support. Women with disabilities are at increased risk of sexual violence, and children with disabilities are more exposed to abuse and neglect. Crucial information on safety and evacuation is often inaccessible, and evacuation centres themselves are also rarely accessible, meaning that persons with disabilities are too often left behind.
This is the situation in Ukraine.
There are 2.7 million persons with disabilities registered in Ukraine. The National Assembly of People with Disabilities of Ukraine has confirmed that the situation for persons with disabilities is appalling. They said:
As a result of the Russian Federation military offensive, people with disabilities cannot leave their homes and are therefore exposed to greater danger; mothers of children with disabilities are afraid that they may be killed and worry about what will happen to their children.National Assembly of People with Disabilities of Ukraine
Inclusive humanitarian response for all
Thus, CBM joins EDF to appeal to governments to recognise their obligations to ensure the protection and safety of persons with disabilities.
EDF's Disabled Persons' Organisations (DPO) members in Ukraine, Latvia, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and Poland have already started this work, or are making plans to do so. Activities for the short to medium term include:
- Advocate for governments to welcome adults and children with disabilities arriving from Ukraine and provide them with the right support.
- Support local organisations in setting up accessible transit shelters in Lviv and Uzhhorod.
- Provide accessible vehicles to transport refugees with disabilities.
- Provide information to receiving organisations, persons with disabilities and their families (website, helpline, information leaflets).
- Link people with disabilities to accessible accommodation, food, medical support, hygiene products and technical equipment including wheelchairs, crutches, and walkers.
- Advocate for disability inclusion in the wider humanitarian response.
- Work with the media to ensure the situation of persons with disabilities is adequately represented.
EDF is also exploring collaboration with DPO members in other countries. The overall strategy is designed to ensure that this early response leads to recovery work that builds members’ capacity in the longer term.