People wanting to send support to the people of Ukraine are being advised not to send physical goods at this stage of the crisis.
The Irish Red Cross has appealed for donations instead to aid their efforts assisting the hundreds of thousands of people affected by the Russian invasion.
The Irish Red Cross has launched an appeal to raise funds to repair vital infrastructure, support health facilities with medicines and equipment, and support families with food and hygiene items.
In the last week, Red Cross aim to help more than 3 million people access clean water and improve the living conditions of more than 66,000 whose homes have been damaged in recent days by heavy fighting.
The Irish Red Cross would like to thank the Irish people for their generosity but with airports closed and transportation systems under pressure, sending physical goods is likely to add more stress to the situation on the ground.
A statement said: “In circumstances of disaster, the Red Cross always advises against sending goods to affected areas as it is very difficult to get these goods into a country in crisis and to distribute them to the right people. Experience from other crises shows that many of these items will end up in landfill and will not help the people you wish to support. Providing cash contributions to organisations like the Red Cross or other organisations responding to the crisis in Ukraine allows the Red Cross to source solicited standardised emergency relief goods locally. This system means everyone in the affected communities gets the same, high-quality items.
“Unsolicited or unwanted aid, especially containers, can clog up logistic chains and can have a detrimental effect on the effectiveness and efficiency of relief operations. National Red Cross Societies end up spending time on custom clearance, sometime with incomplete paperwork, warehouses fill up and handling takes time and energy distracting staff from more important tasks. This is widely known as the “second disaster”. It also means that the Red Cross is left with large quantities of unneeded goods, sometimes at great cost.”
In Ukraine over 30,000 people have been assisted with Red Cross emergency stock so far. Trained Emergency Response volunteers (ERT) have so far saved over 50 lives. Staff and volunteers are helping people to relocate to safer areas. Over 1,000 people have received first aid training conducted in shelters and online since the beginning of the conflict. In neighbouring countries, Red Cross National Societies have established first aid points and volunteers are distributing food, water, non-food items, hygiene products and communication equipment.