The attacks on Ukraine over the last weeks have led to a humanitarian crisis the likes of which have not been seen in Europe for several generations. This war has touched the lives of people across the world, and a massive relief effort is under way. People are donating money, packing and shipping relief items, offering transport, and opening up their homes to refugees.

Our sister organisations, Johanniter International Assistance and Malteser International, are already on the ground, providing care and help as we have done for centuries. They are both coordinating an international emergency response and organising the work of local volunteers in Ukraine, Moldova, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, Slovenia, Lithuania, and Romania. This work is helping people on the ground in the ways that matter the most. Please follow their Social Media channels for the latest updates on their response. 

St John is not working in the affected areas, but some, such as St John Ambulance in England, are busy translating civilian medical advice and guidance into Ukrainian and Russian languages to allow them to be used by those affected.

How you can help

As we watch the crisis unfold on television or through social media, we all want to help. Many of us immediate think of collecting and sending things we think will be useful or of comfort to those fleeing. Unfortunately, we have to recognise that this is not always the best way to help. All too often the goodwill, effort and money that has been spent transporting items across the continent, such as children’s toys, food or second-hand clothing, ends up being wasted because the humanitarian response systems and staff are overloaded. Warehouses, full of boxes of unidentified goods block up logistics networks, and can even prevent vital resources such as medical aid or shelter from getting through.

"Since the start of the Russian invasion, Johanniter are working with local partners in Ukraine and neighbouring countries to support people affected by this horrible war.

We are very grateful that so many people in Europe and all over the world are offering their help. Our teams on the ground are assessing the situation to ensure this help meets the need of people fleeing the violence. Currently, the coordination, transport and distribution of relief items is our uttermost priority. All items are distributed according to the actual need. We have already provided 190 tons of relief items to partners in Ukraine, Hungary and Romania. More will come this week. The focus is on medical support as well as hygiene articles and food.

Unfortunately, the Ukrainian borders are getting swamped with clothes and other donated items. This uncoordinated response is hindering the effective and professional work of organisations like Johanniter. Therefore, I would like to ask you: Please don’t collect and send any donated items, unless it is closely coordinated with organisations working on the ground.

The best way to help is by making a donation, which will enable volunteers and staff getting the best and most effective help to Ukrainian women, men and children.”

Susanne Wesemann, Director Johanniter International Assistance in Berlin

All this means that the most effective way to help refugees from Ukraine is to give money to professional organisations working on the ground, such as Johanniter and Malteser. In doing so, we enable volunteers to help directly in the most efficient and flexible way, responding to needs that they can assess for themselves on the ground.

If you would like to help, please send your donation to:

Johanniter-Unfall-Hilfe e.V., BIC: BFSWDE33XXX, IBAN: DE94 3702 0500 0433 0433 00, Reference: Ukraine

Malteser International:, BIC: GENODED1PAX, IBAN: DE74 37060193 00020202 70, Reference: Ukraine

We urge you all to use these channels to make sure we get the assistance to those who need it as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Thank you!