Companies and Private Citizens Are Stepping Up To Help Ukrainians
In response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine that has already driven 1.7 million Ukrainians from their country, companies and private citizens are stepping up to provide urgent humanitarian assistance. Their efforts are a reminder that individuals and businesses are key to relief efforts, especially during crises that demand quick and localized responses.
Companies are helping to bolster evacuation efforts at the Ukrainian border and beyond. Uber is “providing unlimited free trips between the Ukrainian border and Polish cities to support refugees and their families,” the company announced in a statement last week. The Hungarian airline Wizz Air is offering Ukrainian refugees 100,000 free seats aboard flights departing from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, and Romania, and it will offer “rescue fare” to Ukrainians stuck elsewhere.
Businesses big and small are also stepping up to house Ukrainians who have fled. Airbnb announced last week that it would “offer free, short-term housing to up to 100,000 refugees fleeing Ukraine.” An official statement from the company noted that Airbnb would also “work closely with governments to best support the specific needs in each country, including by providing longer-term stays.” Marketing agency Stay the Night has launched a database through which hotels and hostels can advertise available accommodations for refugees. Hotels in neighboring countries are opening their doors to thousands of fleeing Ukrainians.
For those still in Ukraine, international companies are hoping to provide important goods that are now difficult to come by. Cosmetics company L’Oreal says it will deliver 300,000 hygiene products to Ukraine in the next few weeks. Drugmaker Eli Lilly will send over $9 million of insulin and COVID-19 supplies to Ukraine, while General Electric will provide $4 million worth of critical medical equipment. Ryanair, an Irish budget airline, is filling planes to Poland with medical supplies.
Private citizens are providing a staggering amount of support as well. A couple from Apex, North Carolina, started a campaign to collect frequent flyer miles to assist fleeing Ukrainians, gathering 3.6 million miles in donations so far. “The miles are being used to send people all over the world,” reported ABC 11, a Raleigh-Durham affiliate. There are already countless stories of people in Europe who are driving to the Ukrainian border to bring supplies there, help provide accommodation in neighboring countries, and transport refugees to safety.
Article from Reason.com