A Look Back: One Year of Safe Water for Ukraine
February 24, 2022, is a day that changed the trajectory of millions of lives. When Russia invaded Ukraine, men, women, and children went from living a life of normalcy to a life of seeking refuge overnight. Families were torn apart. Communities were devastated. An entire country was shaken to its core. This ongoing crisis continues to impact millions of people, including the 5.4 million who are internally displaced in Ukraine. Deadly missile strikes continue to damage municipal infrastructure, leaving people without reliable access to safe water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) resources.
With more than 20 years of experience in disaster response, Water Mission was well-positioned to quickly respond to this disaster. In the days following the invasion, our Disaster Assistance Response Team deployed to assess the situation and determine how to best respond to urgent needs with agility.
Partners like you have enabled us to produce more than 6 million gallons of safe water and serve Ukrainians by meeting a variety of needs. Please click below to see a video update from Water Mission CEO and President George C. Greene IV. Then read on for a look back at the last year.
Serving Refugees at Ukrainian Border Crossings
As the conflict unfolded in early 2022, millions of women and children fled for safety, while many of their husbands, brothers, and sons stayed behind to defend Ukraine. At times in these early days, border checkpoint lines were more than 50 miles long.
More than 8 million refugees have fled Ukraine due to the ongoing war, according to UNHCR.
Your generosity enabled Water Mission teams to deploy to the Ukrainian borders in Poland, Romania, and Moldova to evaluate urgent needs. We collaborated with other first responders to serve refugees and show God’s love.
Distributing Hygiene Kits
In any crisis, partnerships are vital. Our teams connected with local churches, civic groups, and non-governmental organizations to distribute more than 10,000 hygiene kits. These “boxes of hope” included sanitary supplies, toilet paper, toothbrushes, and soap for families who had lost everything.
“We are an internally displaced family [and] have received a parcel from your organization,” a Ukrainian parent shared with our team. “I’m really grateful! Thank you so much for helping us through the darkest days.”
When vital water services are interrupted, WASH supplies are critical for families to stay healthy. Thank you for helping to make this possible.
Getting Safe Water Flowing in Ukraine
Water Mission was one of the first organizations providing safe water access for internally displaced people within Ukraine. To date, we have implemented 50 safe water systems, including 45 fixed systems and five mobile water treatment units, serving 67 areas. We also trained local technicians to operate the systems, and our mobile units can supply safe water to newly freed territories.
“We are grateful for groups like Water Mission that help us get drinking water and give us the ability to stay and fight to keep our city working,” shared a husband and wife in Ukraine. “We will not leave [our city], and Water Mission makes that possible for us. Thank you.”
Showing God’s Love
As every crisis is different, so are the emotional needs of those affected. Water Mission is a Christian engineering nonprofit built on the foundation that all people should have the opportunity to experience God’s love.
At border crossings and throughout Ukraine, we partnered with local church leaders to minister to people in their darkest hour. We also printed and distributed Bibles and biblical trauma healing resources in Ukrainian. Our local church partners often share stories of transformation from refugees, young and old.
“Your God will be my God,” a 67-year-old Ukrainian refugee shared about her salvation, “because what you’ve done for me, the care and love you’ve shown, is more than I ever expected from people that are not my people, in a country that’s not mine.”
Because of your partnership, more refugees can experience the Living Water message of Jesus Christ.
As we reflect on the past year, we are immensely grateful for the doors that God opened for us to respond to the crisis in Ukraine. Thanks to your generosity, Water Mission not only met immediate WASH needs, but are able to continue providing access to safe water for those who desperately need it. Our commitment to communities in disaster response goes beyond immediate relief. We intentionally invest in their recovery and resiliency to ensure their long-term safe water needs are met.
Even though we see less about this crisis in the news these days, Water Mission is still actively meeting the needs of Ukrainian men, women, and children. We are working with the United Nations International Organization for Migration and local governments to ensure Ukrainians have access to safe water.
None of this could have been accomplished without your prayers, advocacy, and support. Continue to follow Water Mission’s response and your impact at watermission.org/help-people-in-ukraine/.