Ukraine Emergency | AVSI and World Food Programme food distribution

Bombings leave the population without power, heating and water. Temperatures drop below zero,  and people begin to deal with the psychological impact of a nine-month-long war. Stories from Sumy, where AVSI distributes food with the World Food Programme.

Countries Ukraine
Date 22.12.2022

In Ukraine, the consequences of the war are getting worse. The weather gets colder and the bombings haven't stopped. In late November, we went there to show you how the population is coping. And what we are doing to help.

The city of Sumy is 40 kilometers from the border with Russia and in the first weeks was surrounded by Russian tanks. The fighting in nearby villages was very violent. The whole region has been liberated but even today the area close to the border is bombed every day. That is why the department of social services of the municipality is always crowded.

"I am here to officially register as internally displaced. I will be entitled to financial aid if necessary", explains Slavik, who comes from Kharkiv and has lost his job because of the war. His wife and daughter fled to Poland, he could not follow them because of martial law that prevents men from leaving the country. Since then he moves from city to city to be able to work. "It's eight months since my family left. I hope that the war will end soon, because I would like to see them again", he tells us holding back the emotion with difficulty.

Unemployment is a major concern in the east of Ukraine

Many companies have closed or moved to safer and more stable regions in the west. Like the clothing company of Valentina, 23, whom we met three days earlier in Kharkiv. "I was a fashion designer. I managed to stay in my city because I got a job with AVSI and I manage the distribution of food parcels in some areas of the city, " she told us. "I'm happy to help out in my city, but it's hard not to be able to think about our own future. When the war ends I would like to open my tailor shop in Kharkiv".  

AVSI and World Food Programme: food for people fleeing the war

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In front of the municipal offices of Sumy a truck comes with a load of food that AVSI distributes in collaboration with the World Food Programme. To welcome him, there are at least a dozen volunteers who organize to pass the packages through a window. They also ask Slavik for help, who without hesitation takes off his jacket and joins them. The chain will allow to unload the cartons in a few minutes.

It's eight months since my family left. I hope that the war will end soon, because I would like to see them again

Slavik, internally displaced person in Ukraine

In line to receive aid there are mainly women, mothers with their children, but also the elderly and unemployed people like Slavik. They all come from conflict zones and do not willingly talk to foreigners. They sign the forms and take the cartons out of the office, where an acquaintance or taxi driver awaits them to give them a hand. It started raining outside.