Global Emergency Update February 2023

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Annual Emergency Report: Ukraine

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, more than 7 million people have fled to neighboring countries, while 6.3 million remain displaced within Ukraine. For Ukrainians, the last 12 months have brought unimaginable heartbreak. This year has also been a testament to resilience, strength, partnership and love.

Peace remained elusive in Ukraine during this past holiday season, with near daily bombardment of cities—including Kyiv, Kharkiv and Kherson—and eastern and southern Ukraine. Ukraine’s energy infrastructure was a major target, resulting in widespread blackouts over the New Year and disrupting access to heat and water.

With continued air and ground assaults, the number of people returning home is fluctuating around the country. According to the International Organization for Migration, the number of internally displaced people fell from
6.5 million in October to 5.9 million in December. But over the past month, the IOM is reporting that more than 680,000 people were forced to flee their homes, with the vast majority coming from the east and the south of the country where the fighting is most active. The situation is rapidly changing.

Communities in Ukraine and across the region have opened their hearts and homes to receive people seeking safety. Today, families are finding ways to stay together, seeking normalcy amid chaos. They are finding ways—even if remotely, from a shelter—to safely enroll their children in school, establish a semblance of home and manage their lives as best they can. This would not be possible without the care, trust and hope of our Catholic partners in Ukraine and across the region. Catholic Relief Services is supporting our partners in their efforts to meet essential needs and have support for long-term solutions. CRS has directly contributed to Caritas partners reaching at least 1.6 million people in Ukraine and in 10 countries. CRS has supported 19 partners to collectively reach 6 million people across the region. This includes CRS support for partners to operate 168 centers.

“Life is short. But if you do good things, it will keep you alive forever.”

Ivan Scripnic
Mayor of Ciorescu, Moldova


CRS partners Caritas Ukraine and Caritas Spes together supported 3.6 million people with food, shelter, medicine, living supplies and counseling. Caritas Ukraine distributed over 1.9 million meals and living supply kits, provided 130,347 people with access to emotional, social and health services, and helped 353,393 people find safe shelter. CRS and our partners distributed $4.6 million in cash assistance to 27,600 people. Additionally, repair work has started on 400 war-damaged homes.

relief supplies in Ukraine.

Before the war, Maria ran a kindergarten in Lviv that specialized in children and families with disabilities. Now she coordinates and manages the logistics of relief supplies.

Photo courtesy of Fabian Berg/Caritas Germany

Bosnia and Herzegovina

In Bosnia and Herzegovina, CRS distributed $25,000 in cash assistance to Ukrainians, an activity that will continue in partnership with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees. CRS also worked with the Red Cross Citluk to provide counseling and other social supports to Ukrainian mothers in Medugorje.


CRS has supported Caritas Bulgaria to expand operations to provide case management, accompaniment and cash assistance services for more than 200,000 people. Caritas Bulgaria centers have helped 1,046 people with cash assistance, and CRS is supporting Caritas Bulgaria with an economic integration and livelihoods project for 1,500 refugees and asylum seekers.

humanitarian center in bulgaria.

A mother and daughter at the Caritas Humanitarian Center in Rousse, Bulgaria. There, people who have fled the war in Ukraine can receive accommodation assistance, advice on medical care and social support, as well as packages of food and other necessities.

Photo by Anny Djahova/CRS


CRS and Caritas Croatia are working with nine diocesan offices to meet the needs of Ukrainian families. To date, CRS and Caritas Croatia have assisted 500 Ukrainian families with cash distributions, provided accommodation to 126 families, enabled 933 people to receive counseling and other social support services, and helped 266 children access education and care. Other services include language courses, employment placement assistance, and referrals to social services.


CRS is supporting Caritas Greece to help refugees access documentation, find appropriate affordable housing, manage rental and utility payments, and access interpretation support. Other services include Greek language courses, psychological counseling and other support activities, soft skills training, social services and connections to the job market.

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$23 million
in cash assistance has been distributed by CRS and our partners across the region.


With CRS support, Caritas Hungary has provided 8,465 refugees with assistance, including food, water, a place to rest, information and referrals. At least 2,865 refugees have been accommodated at Church facilities, with host families mobilized through parishes or with rental assistance. These families have also received vouchers for food and hygiene items.


CRS has supported 200,000 people with a range of assistance. In fact, nearly every registered refugee in Moldova has received cash assistance from CRS and our partners. CRS has provided more than $640,000 in cash assistance to 1,670 Moldovan families who have taken in 6,040 Ukrainian refugees. CRS and Caritas Moldova have provided cash assistance to 82,000 refugees, hot meals to 2,884 people in accommodation centers, and vouchers for food and hygiene supplies to 21,000 families.
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people have benefited from shelter assistance across the region.


CRS supported Caritas Montenegro to assist 250 Ukrainian families with voucher and cash assistance, counseling services and integration efforts. CRS and Caritas Montenegro are also supporting two community centers established by Ukrainian refugees that serve as information and legal service centers, and safe spaces for mothers and children. CRS will continue providing equipment and supplies to support these centers in 2023.


CRS has supported Caritas Poland with cash assistance, a data management platform for use across 25 sites, and technical assistance for case management, counseling and other support. With CRS support, Caritas has reached 33,000 people with referrals to language classes, employment linkages and access to government support.
refugees at poland border.

Refugees at the Medyka border crossing in Poland.

Photo courtesy of Philipp Spalek/Caritas Germany


CRS is supporting Caritas Romania to run five centers providing food and supply kits for 11,000 people, and safe shelter and winter supplies for 2,500 people. Ongoing support at the centers includes information and referrals, legal and psychological counseling, and language classes. Caritas Romania has also supported 292 children with online education and language classes.


Through Caritas Slovakia’s 25 refugee support centers, more than 13,422 refugees received household goods donated by the local community, hot meals, language classes, vouchers for supplies, child care, counseling, linkages to jobs and safe accommodation. CRS has also supported Caritas Slovakia in its voucher program, and monitoring and evaluation systems.

Homes and Communities

Here are our videos from the field showing displaced Ukrainian families as they work to heal and rebuild their lives.

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February 2024

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