International charities and community groups are calling for donations to aid humanitarian efforts in Ukraine and to help those who flee the country.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) updated its estimate on the number of refugees that have left Ukraine, saying the total stands at 368,000 – a figure that continues to rise.
The UNHCR said humanitarian needs are “multiplying and spreading by the hour”.
Volunteers at the White Eagle Club in Balham, south London (Aaron Chown/PA)
It said it is sending more resources, staff and stockpiles to countries neighboring Ukraine in addition to stockpiles prepositioned in various locations in the region.
The agency said it is sending stock of core relief items to Moldova, including blankets, sleeping mats, family tents, winterisation kits, sleeping bags, water jerrycans, baby kits, solar lamps and other items for at least 10,000 people.
“Donations are urgently needed because every dollar counts – helping refugees wherever they are from is an incredibly good thing to do as there are nearly 26.4 million refugees around the world, around half of whom are under the age of 18.
“UNHCR has launched a Ukraine Emergency Appeal to help with relief efforts, because our relief work relies on donations and the needs on the ground are immense.
“All donations can be made through our UK charity partner – UK for UNHCR.
“We are receiving many calls from the UK public offering support and we are hugely grateful to those who have already donated or have already been in contact with us here in the UK offering to host refugees in their home,” the agency said.
Meanwhile, in Balham, south London, 30 to 40 volunteers at a Polish community centre are sorting through donations from locals.
Magda Harvey, of the Polish White Eagle Club, told the PA news agency: “The response is great. People are really helping. And it’s not just Polish people that are coming and bringing stuff.
“There are English people … all nationalities are chipping in and bringing something. It’s amazing.”
Ms Harvey said people have donated clothes, pillows, blankets, duvets, sanitary items, toys and first aid kits.
She said if a million people cross the border where will a million duvets come from, adding: “Those are the simplest things, you know, and people that are crossing the border, if you watch TV, they’ve just got a small backpack and maybe a small suitcase and what they are wearing.
“They’ve got nothing.”
A British Red Cross spokesperson said the charity is “gravely concerned” about the intensification of fighting in Ukraine over the past few days.
The spokesperson said: “People are losing their homes and lives; families are being separated.
“Essential services, like water and healthcare, are under threat.
“We are asking the UK public to help by donating to our Ukraine Crisis Appeal where a donation could help someone affected get food, water, first aid, medicines, warm clothes or shelter.
“A donation will mean we can reach even more people in desperate need.”