Media CenterSix Months into the Ukraine-Russia War, CRS Gears Up for Long-Term Response

Photo courtesy of Philipp Spalek/Caritas Germany

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

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, Aug. 22, 2022 – Six months after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the war has created an extraordinary refugee and displacement crisis. Since it began in February, more than 11 million people have crossed the Ukrainian border. Nearly 5 million people have returned to Ukraine.

“The current state of stress is not sustainable – not for Ukraine, not for its neighboring countries, not for the larger global community,” said Sean Callahan, president and CEO of CRS. “I had a chance to visit Lviv this summer and saw the steps people have taken to protect their homes and communities – lining their parks with sandbags, digging pits in case they have to defend their streets from invasion – it’s devastating to know they’ve had to live in this constant stress.”

In addition to providing refugee families with immediate help like food, shelter, and information to people crossing borders, CRS addresses the mental and emotional toll that thousands of refugees across the region are living with. CRS provides counseling – such as art therapy – to refugees in neighboring countries like Romania and also works to meet the longer-term needs of people impacted by the war.

“Families that I met that came over here in late February and March were looking to put their head on a pillow somewhere and for a warm shower and a hot meal,” said Conor O’Loughlin, CRS country representative in Moldova and Ukraine. “Now they're making decisions about staying in Moldova or going back to Ukraine, what they will do for work, and where their children will go to school.”

In Moldova, CRS provides families with rent assistance for at least six months as well as cash. CRS and its local Church partners also work in Poland, Romania, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Montenegro, providing housing, cash and integration services. In Ukraine, preparing for winter is an urgent need, as many buildings and homes have been destroyed.

“The race is on to make those repairs now,” said O’Loughlin. “The cost of living has skyrocketed in Ukraine putting enormous economic pressure on families. It’s imperative that we do as much as we can now to make sure people are ready for winter.”

“We’re very concerned about the long-term implications of this war,” said Callahan. “It’s already done immeasurable damage not only to the Ukrainian people, but also to so many countries that rely on Ukrainian exports. Our fear is that it will be years before those affected can recover from this.”


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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