.
T

he burgeoning humanitarian crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine can’t be ignored—it’s everywhere, permeating media feeds and discussions across the world. This attention has mobilized record amounts of aid to Ukraine, creating a kind of momentum that’s previously unheard of. This momentum should be maintained and carried to other crises. The world needs it. According to the United Nations, 1 in 29 people worldwide needed humanitarian assistance at the end of 2021, rising from 1 in 33 in 2020 and 1 in 45 in 2019. The invasion of Ukraine has only worsened this global emergency, but the extraordinary support demonstrates that, with enough impetus, people can mobilize incredible aid responses.

Aid groups have been scrambling in recent years to keep up in the wake of mass humanitarian crises. Issues from the COVID-19 pandemic, food shortages, and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan evoked mass devastation. The Horn of Africa also suffers through what could be its worst food crisis in 30 years, and experts predict that 38 million people in West Africa will likely experience extreme food shortages this summer. Conflict also continues to devastate countries like Myanmar and Syria, and disasters strike countless others.

The situation has only grown more dire. Now, more than four million people have fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion on February 24—the fastest population movement since WWII. More than seven million remain internally displaced. Those remaining in-country face dwindling food and supplies, exacerbated by the war zone enveloping them, and additional aid requirements surge for refugees seeking safety in neighboring countries. 

The global humanitarian response to Ukraine is hopeful. Billions of dollars in aid from governments, celebrities, and unexpected donors like the Chinese Red Cross help mitigate the human calamity. Additionally, average citizens worldwide demonstrate a strong desire to help, including giving money or welcoming refugees.

The global solidarity and media attention centered on Ukraine is monumental. It should not be unique or short-lasting—it should reflect a new standard in addressing humanitarian emergencies and helping refugees. Support must continue on all fronts, for Ukrainians and also for the millions of others who desperately need it.

This response to Ukraine suggests we can do better. We can be more welcoming and empathetic towards those who need help. What we cannot do is ignore the disparities in how we’ve responded as a global community to Ukraine and how we’ve responded elsewhere. Support for Ukraine outweighs efforts given to other countries or groups, and this generosity towards Ukrainian refugees starkly contrasts with the hostile treatment of those seeking asylum from the Middle East and Africa. Racist and xenophobic reactions to migrants occur worldwide, requiring countries and people to tackle these prejudices for a better and more just humanitarian response. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to dominate media and civic dialogues more than a month after its start. This remains necessary for response efforts because the more engagement in a cause, the more likely people will give money and assistance to those inflicted. Ukraine has garnered tremendous attention thus far, setting an example for what is needed to mobilize financial support for aid groups. This substantial coverage must also extend to other crises, and it must persist even when not in the central focus of media.

Humanity faces dire situations from conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, individuals and groups are already redefining how the world responds and assists to these crises, offering hope that the global community can come together to alleviate the rise of humanitarian need.

About
Whitney DeVries
:
Whitney DeVries is a Diplomatic Courier correspondent currently pursuing a master’s degree in International Affairs and Global Enterprise at the University of Utah.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.

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A New Era of Humanitarian Need

Illustration via Adobe Stock.

April 12, 2022

Around 1 in 29 people around the world needed humanitarian assistance at the end of 2021, and that's only gotten worse with the Ukraine crisis. Yet the robust response from the global community to Ukraine shows we have the ability to redefine how we meet crises for the better, writes Whitney DeVries

T

he burgeoning humanitarian crisis triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine can’t be ignored—it’s everywhere, permeating media feeds and discussions across the world. This attention has mobilized record amounts of aid to Ukraine, creating a kind of momentum that’s previously unheard of. This momentum should be maintained and carried to other crises. The world needs it. According to the United Nations, 1 in 29 people worldwide needed humanitarian assistance at the end of 2021, rising from 1 in 33 in 2020 and 1 in 45 in 2019. The invasion of Ukraine has only worsened this global emergency, but the extraordinary support demonstrates that, with enough impetus, people can mobilize incredible aid responses.

Aid groups have been scrambling in recent years to keep up in the wake of mass humanitarian crises. Issues from the COVID-19 pandemic, food shortages, and the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan evoked mass devastation. The Horn of Africa also suffers through what could be its worst food crisis in 30 years, and experts predict that 38 million people in West Africa will likely experience extreme food shortages this summer. Conflict also continues to devastate countries like Myanmar and Syria, and disasters strike countless others.

The situation has only grown more dire. Now, more than four million people have fled Ukraine following Russia’s invasion on February 24—the fastest population movement since WWII. More than seven million remain internally displaced. Those remaining in-country face dwindling food and supplies, exacerbated by the war zone enveloping them, and additional aid requirements surge for refugees seeking safety in neighboring countries. 

The global humanitarian response to Ukraine is hopeful. Billions of dollars in aid from governments, celebrities, and unexpected donors like the Chinese Red Cross help mitigate the human calamity. Additionally, average citizens worldwide demonstrate a strong desire to help, including giving money or welcoming refugees.

The global solidarity and media attention centered on Ukraine is monumental. It should not be unique or short-lasting—it should reflect a new standard in addressing humanitarian emergencies and helping refugees. Support must continue on all fronts, for Ukrainians and also for the millions of others who desperately need it.

This response to Ukraine suggests we can do better. We can be more welcoming and empathetic towards those who need help. What we cannot do is ignore the disparities in how we’ve responded as a global community to Ukraine and how we’ve responded elsewhere. Support for Ukraine outweighs efforts given to other countries or groups, and this generosity towards Ukrainian refugees starkly contrasts with the hostile treatment of those seeking asylum from the Middle East and Africa. Racist and xenophobic reactions to migrants occur worldwide, requiring countries and people to tackle these prejudices for a better and more just humanitarian response. 

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine continues to dominate media and civic dialogues more than a month after its start. This remains necessary for response efforts because the more engagement in a cause, the more likely people will give money and assistance to those inflicted. Ukraine has garnered tremendous attention thus far, setting an example for what is needed to mobilize financial support for aid groups. This substantial coverage must also extend to other crises, and it must persist even when not in the central focus of media.

Humanity faces dire situations from conflict, climate change, and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, individuals and groups are already redefining how the world responds and assists to these crises, offering hope that the global community can come together to alleviate the rise of humanitarian need.

About
Whitney DeVries
:
Whitney DeVries is a Diplomatic Courier correspondent currently pursuing a master’s degree in International Affairs and Global Enterprise at the University of Utah.
The views presented in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the views of any other organization.