Evacuating Ukrainian Civilians From the Frontlines

Project: Evacuating civilians from near the frontlines in south and southeast Ukraine

Implemented by Refugee Protection International with Ukrainian charities Happy Child Foundation, Odessa Charitable Foundation The Way Home, Orlivka Logistic Center for Humanitarian Assistance, and Volunteers (2022)


Project Summary: In early 2022, Refugee Protection International equipped its partner Ukrainian charities with the vehicles needed to evacuate some 3,000 civilians from the war’s frontline areas in southeast and southern Ukraine. RPI staff and Romanian volunteers delivered 3 of the 4 evacuation vehicles in person, including a 20-seat minibus, and funded a 4th. In total, RPI funded 4 vehicles, as well as diesel fuel, drivers, and evacuation coordinators, when needed for Ukrainian charity partners The Way Home Odessa Charity, Happy Child Foundation, and the Orlivka Logistic Center for Humantiarian Assistance. All 3 partners continue to use the vehicles to distribute humanitarian aid to tens of thousands civilians living in conflict-affected communities.

Timely evacuations are critical. Once a frontline area is occupied or heavily shelled, it is more difficult to operate. The result can be devastating. At Russian checkpoints, ill children have been made to wait until they require intensive care upon evacuation to our partner Regional Children’s Clinical Hospital in Zaporizhzhia. Some are unable to evacuate even then. RPI has met several of these patients from the newly occupied territories of Melitopol, Berdyansk, Enerhodar, Kherson, and Orikhiv region. We have also witnessed volunteers supported by RPI in Komyshuvakha coordinating evacuations from Polohy that are blocked at Russian checkpoints in Vasylivka. In non-occupied Komyshuvakha, 4 children were evacuated independently just days before their house was damaged by rockets and artillery on May 11, 2022. An older man on the streets that day was not as fortunate.

RPI’s Jennifer Hill has met with evacuation teams in Komyshuvakha, Zaporizhzhia (May 2022), Odessa (April 2022), and in the former frontline town decimated between Kherson city (2023) and Mykolaiv, where RPI-supported vehicles continue to provide aid.

With other Ukrainian medical partners and volunteers, we supported the medical evacuation of surrogate babies from Kyiv to Chernivtsi, in western Ukraine, where the infants were united with their foreign biological parents. 53 infants are now thriving in Romania, Hungary, Moldova, Italy, and the US thanks to this program.

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