Media CenterUkrainian Conflict: CRS Responds to Growing Humanitarian Crisis

Photo courtesy of Philipp Spalek/Caritas Germany

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

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND, March 1, 2022 As the Ukrainian conflict continues unabated, Catholic Relief Services (CRS) is deploying staff and resources to support the Church as it responds to the unfolding humanitarian crisis across a handful of affected countries.  

"The scale of the suffering is devastating," said Sean Callahan, CRS' president and CEO. "It's easy to forget that there are human faces behind the staggering headlines. As we pray for peace, we must continue to do everything possible to support the survival and dignity of Ukrainian families."  

According to the United Nations Refugee Agency, more than 5 million Ukrainians could be forced to flee the country if fighting persists, while millions of others could be displaced internally. Poland, Moldova and Romania are already seeing considerable upticks in the number of refugees crossing their borders. Poland has received nearly 300,000 refugees and is preparing for many more. The Polish government has since set up reception centers near the border to process new arrivals. Regionally, as many as 500,000 people have fled Ukraine to date.

CRS is sending staff and resources to support local Caritas partners in Ukraine, Romania, Moldova and Poland to address the growing needs.  

The Church's initial support of displaced families includes, but is not limited to: 

  • Food distributions  
  • Support with reception centers at Caritas offices, train stations, and transit hubs.  

  • Transportation services  

  • Support with evacuation centers, which provide shelter, food and counseling services for displaced families.  

  • Evacuation of vulnerable children from conflict areas to centers in safe zones. 

Pope Francis announced March 2 as a day of fasting and prayer for Ukraine. In the meantime, President Biden is likely to speak about the unfolding humanitarian crisis during Tuesday's State of the Union address. 

"The U.S. government must prioritize the needs of the Ukrainian people while at the same time balancing those needs with the many other crises playing out globally," Callahan said. "We don't know how long the conflict will last. But we do know that the Church's support is vital to make sure those caught up in the fighting don't pay with their lives. As the Holy Father has said, 'Ordinary people are the real victims who pay for the follies of war with their own skin.'" 

For more information about CRS' Ukraine response, including how to donate, visit our 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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Nikki Gamer

Senior Public Affairs Manager

Nikki Gamer
February 28, 2022

Based in Baltimore, MD

Nikki is the Senior Public Affairs Manager for CRS and connects journalists to regional stories and sources related to the agency’s life-saving development work. Previously, Nikki worked as the Communications Officer for the Middle East, Europe, and Central Asia. She has covered CRS’ response to the Syrian refugee crisis and the mass displacement...More