Ukrainian refugees leave their war-torn country

Media CenterA month into the Ukraine War, CRS Commends Global Church Response, Calls for Continued Solidarity

Photo courtesy of Philipp Spalek/Caritas Germany

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Megan Gilbert
Catholic Relief Services
[email protected]
(443) 825-3640


Baltimore, MD, March 24, 2022 – With the war in Ukraine entering its second month, Sean Callahan, Catholic Relief Services’ president and CEO, issued the following statement.

We are witnessing one of the fastest-moving and large-scale humanitarian crises in recent memory. The numbers speak for themselves. More than 3.6 million people (about twice the population of Nebraska) have fled Ukraine in less than a month, primarily to neighboring countries. These neighbors have demonstrated remarkable hospitality despite having limited resources to address the magnitude of the need. Millions more people have fled to other parts of Ukraine or are sheltering in place, sleeping in subway stations or any other site that seems safe. As supplies dwindle, they hope and pray to survive another day.

As the head of CRS, I’m humbled, if not surprised, that the global Catholic Church has met the moment. Our Caritas partners in Ukraine and neighboring countries like Poland, Moldova, Romania, and Hungary have been unrelenting in supporting those caught up in the fighting, providing food, water, shelter, counseling, and supplies to tens of thousands of people. This, despite that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to get humanitarian supplies into the hardest-hit areas because of violence and blockades. I’m also heartened by the tremendous outpouring of support from American Catholics and others of goodwill who continue to donate to the Church’s ongoing humanitarian efforts.

Yet the wholesale destruction we’ve seen in Ukraine will call for a long-term response. As Americans, we must continue to stand in solidarity with our brothers and sisters mired in this tragedy while helping countries like Moldova and Poland shoulder the burden of the sudden and immense need. For example, since the war started, Moldova has welcomed more than 360,000 refugees, a number equivalent to more than 10% of its population. To put it another way: It would be akin to welcoming 43 million people into the U.S. in a matter of weeks. We cannot expect countries like Moldova to shoulder this burden alone.

To be sure, only a ceasefire will end the needless suffering. We join the U.S. Bishops in calling for an immediate cessation of all hostilities. As Pope Francis has said, ‘In the name of God, listen to the cry of those who suffer, and put an end to the bombings and the attacks!’

To learn about CRS’ humanitarian response efforts tied to the conflict, visit our Ukraine crisis watch page.


Catholic Relief Services is the official international humanitarian agency of the Catholic community in the United States. The agency alleviates suffering and provides assistance to people in need in more than 100 countries, without regard to race, religion or nationality. CRS’ relief and development work is accomplished through programs of emergency response, HIV, health, agriculture, education, microfinance and peacebuilding. For more information, visit or and follow Catholic Relief Services on social media in English at Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube; and in Spanish at: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.


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