Over the past several days, we have all watched in dread as the horrific invasion of Ukraine unfolds. It’s heartbreaking because CCI Board, staff, volunteers, and supporters hold very special ties to the peoples of Ukraine and Belarus, and over the years have come to treasure many personal relationships. Many of you have contacted us to voice the very question that is being asked the world over: “What can I do to help?”
In the “fog of war” it can be hard to immediately know what to do. We are in the early days of a new reality that will unwind for weeks, months and years ahead — and for now the situation changes from minute to minute. For over 30 years, CCI has cultivated deep, substantive ties in Ukraine and Belarus, at a personal, professional, and diplomatic level. We are in touch daily with our Ukrainian colleagues in Kharkiv, Kyiv, and Lviv. Just in the past weeks, we were able to accelerate the visit of a heart surgery team to Lviv, Ukraine, where they saved young lives — and we safely evacuated the surgical team just as the danger came to a head. We are also ensuring that our programmes in Belarus continue to operate, providing the services that are so desperately needed by so many there. Their welfare and the children and families we support are our priority. We are watching the developments closely and are in regular contact with the Department of Foreign Affairs.
While the situation unfolds, we are already looking at the best ways for CCI to help. We are coordinating closely with the Irish government and diplomatic colleagues, as well as our contacts “on the ground” to determine the best course of action that adheres to our brief and makes use of our expertise and experience in helping children and families affected by Chernobyl. If you would like to support immediate humanitarian needs in Ukraine, we urge you to contact one of the many organisations that are experts in this sphere and are on the ground providing urgent assistance. We recommend the UNICEF Ireland Ukraine Appeal here and the Irish Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal here.
We have launched a petition to appeal to the Irish Government to do all they can to ensure that the Chernobyl Nuclear Exclusion Zone is declared a ‘War Free Zone’. You can help us by signing this petition here: https://chng.it/DYvGXd2mgd