Press release

Ukraine Crisis: Medair launching supply chain support in Poland and Ukraine

9 March 2022  /  Lausanne - Switzerland

Lucy Bamforth

As millions of people flee fighting in Ukraine, Medair is supporting humanitarian supply chain networks in Poland and Ukraine to sustain and strengthen local and volunteer organisation efforts to support families affected by the conflict.

‘The volunteer response for refugees is absolutely incredible,’ Damon Elsworth, Team Lead for Medair’s Global Emergency Response Team, says from Poland. ‘However, we will be getting to a point where many of these amazing volunteers may need to return to work. Our project will help sustain these efforts and ensure that they continue supporting conflict-affected families through the coming months.’

In Poland, Medair aims to standardise and sustain the support being offered to refugee families and to stabilise the supply chain networks that deliver aid here and into Ukraine. For example, this will ensure that hygiene kits delivered to refugee families all contain essential items such as toothbrushes, soap, and toothpaste, and that these kits are available in all transit centres. This will build on the work that has already been undertaken by local and volunteer organisations, providing both refugee and host families with access to consistent and standardised support.

As humanitarian needs rapidly increase in Ukraine, Medair is building a reliable supply chain network to deliver aid to five cities in western Ukraine that currently host people fleeing the conflict or serve as transit points for people traveling elsewhere. This support will ensure that people who are internally displaced by the conflict, as well as the host communities, have access to essential humanitarian support.

In addition to supply chain support, Medair is delivering essential items such as toothbrushes, soap, and warm blankets to refugee and host families. Health and mental health support will begin shortly, both in Poland and inside Ukraine as permissions are obtained.

‘We must keep an open mind; this will not be like other humanitarian responses,’ says James McDowell, Head of Programme for the Global Emergency Response Team. ‘With any emergency response you are constantly being creative; this one will be even more so. This is truly critical.’

‘The situation on the ground is changing every minute,” McDowell adds. “Our primary concern is for the people most affected by these events. We do not have a second to lose. We must act now.’

At the time of writing, more than two million people had fled the conflict in Ukraine to neighbouring countries; of those, Poland has taken in around 1.2 million since 24 February 2022. Inside Ukraine, around 2.1 million people could become internally displaced within the first three months of the conflict, and an estimated 12 million people require urgent humanitarian assistance.

Staff in Poland (English, Dutch) and Switzerland (French, German) are available for comment. Media enquiries should be directed to the following people:

In Poland:
Sue O’Connor, Head of Branding and Communications (English):
Mobile: +41 789 327 532
WhatsApp: +41 779 084 003

In Switzerland:
Jean-Bernard Palthey, Engagement Director (English, French)

Daniela Dönges, Press Officer (English, German)


All figures provided by the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.

Medair is an international humanitarian NGO that provides emergency relief and recovery services to families made vulnerable by natural disasters, conflicts, and other crises.

This content was produced with resources gathered by Medair field and headquarters staff. The views expressed herein are those solely of Medair and should not be taken, in any way, to reflect the official opinion of any other organisation.