S'pore Red Cross raises $2m in a week to help communities in Ukraine

People walk with their belongings as smoke rises from a shelling, in Irpin city, Kyiv, on March 3, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SINGAPORE - About $2 million has been raised by the Singapore Red Cross (SRC) within a week to help communities affected by the conflict in Ukraine, and the first tranche of supplies from the organisation has arrived in the country.

On Friday (March 4), the SRC said the aid is being distributed by the Ukrainian Red Cross Society and the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

The organisation launched a public fund-raising appeal on Feb 25.

SRC thanked the community for its overwhelming support, which included a US$100,000 contribution from the Singapore Government.

The money raised will go towards the provision of relief supplies such as hygiene kits, family kits and household kits for those displaced by the conflict, it said.

Mr Benjamin William, chief executive and secretary-general of the SRC, said: "Much of the focus will be on the vulnerable, including children (many who are unaccompanied), single women with children, the elderly and people with disabilities.

"The combination of an active and bloody conflict, extreme cold weather and Covid-19 means that, for the people in the conflict regions and those who have been displaced from their homes (already exceeding one million), the days ahead will be a struggle for survival."

There was a similar show of support last year when the SRC called for donations to help India's Covid-19 fight at the peak of the Delta wave.

More than $3.2 million was raised in two weeks.

On Friday, the Red Cross encouraged members of the public to donate in cash to help the Ukraine conflict.

This will allow the organisation to purchase items faster, making its response coordination more flexible.

Said the SRC: "The key challenges in delivering humanitarian aid include logistical limitations and disrupted supply chains. Unsolicited in-kind donations for Ukraine remain a challenge for the Red Cross Societies on the ground to handle, exacerbating capacity to store, transport and distribute it."

It also called for the protection of non-combatants and critical infrastructure such as water and power systems in Ukraine, so that all humanitarian organisations can get access to civilians and help them.

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So far, more than 30,000 people have received humanitarian aid from the Red Cross emergency stockpile, including hygiene and food kits, warm clothing and medicine.

SRC added that it has activated its "restoring family links" service, which can help Singapore residents locate their immediate family members who may have been affected and who they might have difficulty contacting.

Those who need assistance in contacting family members can reach the SRC at rfl@redcross.sg.

The public can donate money via PayNow, fund transfer or cheque.

These donations to overseas efforts are not tax-deductible.

More information can be found on the SRC website.

Follow The Straits Times' live coverage on the Ukraine crisis here.

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