Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham supports UK-Med as we launch our Ukraine Appeal

Today, we’ve launched an emergency appeal with the backing of Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce to support the humanitarian health crises unfolding in Ukraine, as nearly half a million people flee to Ukraine’s neighbouring countries.   

The appeal is launched as a UK-Med assessment team fly to Poland to meet potential partners to assess and anticipate the emergency health needs caused by the Russian invasion, now in its sixth day.

The crisis so far

Of the thousands of people who have fled the country already, many have left with just the clothes on their back and a few possessions. Temperatures in Kyiv and across the region are dropping below freezing.

The WHO have reported dangerously low oxygen supplies inside Ukraine. COVID-19 vaccination efforts have stopped, with only 40% of the country vaccinated. Ukraine has also been battling a Polio outbreak since October, but again, vaccination campaigns have had to be abandoned in the conflict.

The number of civilian casualties and deaths as a consequence of the fighting is rising. Last night (28th February), Ukraine’s Ministry of Health reported more than 350 civilian deaths. As this number rises, it’s anticipated that hospitals inside Ukraine will need support with surgical and trauma care.

Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham says of the appeal:

“Last week I wrote to the Mayors of the Ukrainian cities of Kyiv, Kharkiv and Lviv to express my shock, sorrow and outrage at the ongoing invasion of Ukraine. Greater Manchester has strong links with Ukraine and we are home to thousands of people of Ukrainian heritage.

The people of Greater Manchester are known for our generosity. To the people of those three cities, I have already offered any humanitarian assistance or supplies that are needed. We will do what we can to help, as we always do. I commend the UK-Med assessment team due to fly to Poland and the wider fundraising efforts of the charity during such a worrying and dangerous time.

People in Greater Manchester will doubtless want to donate food, clothing and other supplies. While undoubtedly needed, this specific drive is to raise funds which could purchase medical equipment and other supplies, and to enable healthcare professionals from our city-region and beyond to support those in need on the frontline in Ukraine.

If you can spare money and want to support, I would encourage you to do so as soon as you can – go online and visit uk-med.org/ukraine-appeal.

The people of Ukraine remain in our thoughts, and we hope and pray for their safety.”

Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce’s Policy & Campaigns Director, Chris Fletcher says:

“Anyone watching the news over the last few days will have become increasingly concerned and moved by the humanitarian crisis that is unfolding in Ukraine and along the borders with its neighbouring countries as a flood of refugees seek help and safety from the fighting taking place following Russia’s invasion.

When you consider this is happening on our continent in the 21st century it is even more shocking and this is why we are supporting the Ukraine Appeal by UK Med and urge everyone affected by what they have seen to help support the work so desperately needed now.

The help that is so urgently needed can only be given by communities getting behind the Ukraine Appeal and helping support health professionals on the ground where they are most needed.

Often people can feel a bit helpless in situations like this but by launching this appeal everyone, businesses and residents right across GM and beyond can play a small part for those that need it most.”

UK-Med’s Health Director Dr Ram Vadi and Humanitarian Operations Director Tom Godfrey are travelling to Warsaw to meet with prospective partners to understand more about the refugee health needs on the Polish border and discuss how to support the emerging health emergency triggered by the conflict.

UK-Med’s CEO David Wightwick says: 

“UK-Med expresses its gravest concern for the safety, health and well-being of all those affected by the humanitarian tragedy which is fast unfolding in Ukraine and its bordering countries.

UK-Med saves lives in emergencies, we believe everyone should have the healthcare they need when disasters and crises hit. When health systems are over-whelmed, we get expert health teams to where they’re needed fast. That’s why it’s vital we are sending a team of experts to talk with our partners and assess how we can best support those most in need.

We are grateful for the backing of the Greater Manchester Mayor and the Chamber of Commerce. It is fantastic to get their support at a time when thousands potentially millions of people are in such great need.  The response of the public has been overwhelming and we ask for them to support UK-Med’s Ukraine Appeal.”

The UN estimates around half a million people have already fled for bordering Romania, Moldovia, Hungary, Slovakia and Poland with many at the Polish border.

The EU estimates the total number of displaced people heading for Ukraine’s neighbouring countries could reach as many as four million people.

To donate to the Ukraine Appeal please go to: uk-med.org/ukraine-appeal.

Feature image: Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham pictured in Manchester in October 2021. Credit: R Heilig

We’d like to say a huge thank you to Andy Burnham and the Greater Manchester Chamber of Commerce for their support with this appeal.

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