ShelterBox Helps Ukrainians in Sub-Zero Temperatures

4 min


Deadly threat of winter: fundraising appeal

The international disaster relief charity ShelterBox is providing essential aid to the people of Ukraine to help them survive a long and harsh winter. 

Millions of men, women and children are bracing for temperatures as low as -15 degrees centigrade as they continue to live in areas devastated by the ongoing war.

The UNHCR says an estimated 15.7 million Ukrainians are still in need of urgent humanitarian assistance. 

It’s becoming increasingly difficult for people who’ve continued to live in damaged homes to keep warm as electricity and gas supplies continue to be badly affected. 

ShelterBox has previously supported displaced people in Syria through freezing winters. The charity’s experience means it can help thousands of people in Ukraine protect themselves from the cold. 

Teams will be giving people thermal blankets, clothing, and emergency repair kits to help them fix damaged roofs and seal windows and doors. The goal is to help to keep the heat in and make homes watertight. The kits include tarpaulins and timber.   

The most vulnerable households will also be given solid fuel stoves and a supply of firewood that will last the average family through the winter. 

This type of stove is regularly used to heat homes in rural areas of the country and is desperately needed to help people survive the cold.  

ShelterBox’s Programme Manager for Ukraine, Rachel Harvey, is in Kyiv as the next phase of the charity’s response gets underway. 

‘Struggling to survive’

‘With the passage of time, whilst the number of people leaving the country has reduced, many thousands of people still living in Ukraine are struggling to survive in damaged homes,’ says Rachel.  

‘We know from our work in Syria that heating one room can make a huge difference to a whole family.’ 

‘It’s regularly sub-zero in parts of Ukraine and with gas and oil supplies badly hit, people are facing temperatures inside their homes that are potentially life threatening.’ 

‘That’s why we are focusing on keeping people and their houses as warm as possible.’  

Cornwall-based ShelterBox has already supported thousands of families affected by the crisis in Ukraine since March. 

It’s help has extended to refugees on the move in Moldova, as well as people internally displaced at collective centres, or living in damaged homes. 

Supporting the charity with its winter appeal is long-term supporter and friend of ShelterBox, Stephen Fry. 

He provides the introduction for a new film based on a poem about home by Ukrainian poet Serhy Zhadan, and voiced by Ukranian actor Ivantiy Novak, to help raise awareness of ShelterBox’s lifesaving work.  

Home: an essential first step

The charity says home is the essential first step to recovery as it represents a place of safety. It adds that home provides a sense of dignity and a place to cook, sleep, and shelter. 

ShelterBox is working in Ukraine in partnership with Relief Aid and Green Chernobyl. 

The charity is also helping people displaced by conflict in Yemen, Syria, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Nigeria, Ethiopia, and Mozambique. 

Support is provided in many ways and includes different combinations of emergency shelter items and training that are locally appropriate to make the biggest difference for communities after disaster.  

The charity has dedicated the film to them as the world reflects on the 100 million people who are forced from their homes by disaster and conflict every year.

Photographs kindly supplied by ShelterBox

Main photograph: Vasilina and Julia are facing a tough winter with limited power or heating. Photo source: ShelterBox

Photograph: Many families have been left without electricity or power and urgently need protection from the cold. Photo source: ShelterBox

Photograph: Lyudmyla with a ShelterBox solar light to help her through rolling power blackouts. More information can be found here:

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