IFAW worked with partners in Ukraine during the 2014 Crimea crisis, and we stood by those same shelters when Russia invaded in February 2022. Through our strong partnerships, we provided preemptive aid to animal shelters in Ukraine as they prepared for the invasion.
In addition, we rapidly expanded our emergency response efforts in Ukraine, Poland, Romania and Moldova. We supported zoos and sanctuaries with evacuating and transporting wildlife into safer areas. Our disaster response team deployed to Poland for two months to work at the busiest border crossing point with Ukraine, providing critical aid in the form of basic veterinary care, animal food and pet supplies. Until the end of June, we also had two IFAW-supported Ukrainian veterinarians assisting refugees and their pets entering Poland via the Przemyśl train station.
IFAW continues to send food and supplies to relief workers and other organizations going into Ukraine, and to grant emergency funds to support animals in need. We have also outlined a multi-year project plan focused on our continued support of current and ongoing emergency needs, as well as recovery and rebuilding efforts.
How much money has ifaw raised on the Ukraine crisis to date?
We have received enormous generosity during the Ukraine crisis and we’re so grateful for all of that incredible support. This generosity allowed us to grant funds for emergency aid right at the start, deploy teams to the ground, provide critical resources to those who needed it most and now, also start preparing for the recovery and rebuilding phase.
From the start of the war to date, IFAW has raised just over USD $12M. We are still receiving both donations and requests for aid daily, so it is too early for us to give final and exact numbers.
What percentage of funds raised will go directly to Ukraine response work?
The majority of funds earmarked for Ukraine are spent on our direct response activities, giving out grants and also on the recovery and rebuilding phase in coming years. Part of the funds raised are also going into our European Disaster Response Fund. This fund enables us to activate emergency aid right away on the European continent for both the short and long-term needs in Ukraine and the surrounding region. When emergencies arise, time is of the essence. We often don't have time to raise money to mobilize our emergency response—we need to act immediately, and this fund allows us to rush to rescue and aid animals in need.
Below is a 6-month summary of our topline Ukraine financials:
- Funds raised to date (gross, all channels): USD $12.3M
- Funds allocated / invested to date (gross):
- General expenses: USD $4,1M
- Grants paid: over USD $1M
- Directed to European Disaster Response Fund (gross): USD $1,5M
- Directed to IFAW Global Rescue Fund (gross): USD $500K
- Directed to Animal Rescue Endowment (gross): USD $1M
- Planned for future needs and allocation beyond currently planned projects: USD $4.1M
All our financial information, including donations received, is publicly available in our annual report. In our latest financial statements from 2020/2021, you can see that we spent 76 cents of every dollar raised directly on our animal conservation programs and related administrative costs.
How does ifaw spend the funds raised for Ukraine?
We are grateful to have received a tremendous amount of worldwide support and goodwill. Since February 2022, we are implementing a comprehensive, multi-year rescue and recovery plan in and around Ukraine.
IFAW has already disbursed nearly USD $1.1M to support animal rescue and relief efforts during this crisis. Over half of these funds were granted to support emergency needs for companion animals, wildlife and their owners impacted by the war. This includes the team’s deployment to Poland and the two IFAW-supported Ukrainian veterinarians, between March and June 2022. Over USD $1M of these funds are grants issued to support emergency needs for companion animals, wildlife and their owners impacted by the war.
New requests are added daily, but as of 31 August, 2022, we have given a total of 63 grants—45 grants to partners inside Ukraine and another 18 grants to support work in surrounding countries—to aid animals from Ukraine.
We are proud of all that has been accomplished to date and our work is only beginning.
What are ifaw’s deployment activities during the Ukraine crisis?
From late March 2022 to mid-May 2022, IFAW-trained responders and veterinarians managed the only animal care tent at the Medyka border crossing between Poland and Ukraine. We distributed thousands of dollars' worth of animal food, leashes, collars, pet carriers and clothing to refugees and their pets. Over the seven weeks that IFAW managed the tent, our team cared for 2,425 pets.
We are also partnered with the Chief Veterinary Office of Poland to support veterinary needs and provide pet supplies at the Przemyśl train station. Our veterinarians from Ukraine were funded by IFAW and supported the Polish veterinarians in examining, vaccinating and microchipping close to 3,355 pets to date.
Between March and May 2022, 43 IFAW responders, including seven veterinarians, deployed to greet and care for refugees and their pets as they entered Poland and began the next part of their journey. Our responders came from all over the world to help: Germany, France, the Netherlands, Belgium, the United Kingdom, Australia, the United States, Mexico and Costa Rica.
Will ifaw open an office in Ukraine or surrounding countries?
IFAW does not currently plan to open an office in Ukraine or surrounding countries. IFAW has country offices in Germany, the Netherlands, France and Belgium, and various staff members work on disaster response activities in the broader European region. We are, however, working on a three-year plan that involves hiring project staff to specifically implement recovery and rebuilding activities in Ukraine, working closely with in-country strategic partners.
How many animals has ifaw helped since the beginning of the war in Ukraine?
Six months after the start of the war, IFAW directly helped over 75,000 companion animals (most of whom were cats and dogs) and wild animals like bears, bats and tigers. In addition to helping animals in crisis, we also supported the incredible families and caretakers of those animals.
Why is ifaw not helping many more animals, also in Ukraine itself?
IFAW mobilized over a hundred people to support this response. Rescuers and veterinarians on the ground worked 24/7 and for several months helping animals and refugees as they came across the border from Ukraine into Poland. Staff in our offices continue to answer the huge number of emails and questions we receive from around the world on a daily basis.
We continue to support animal rescue and relief efforts wherever possible. We also keep providing grants to help partners and other organizations who take care of animals in Ukraine and surrounding countries. When the time comes, IFAW will transition into the recovery phase of our crisis response. We have allocated funds to rebuild facilities and structures and contribute to habitat restoration in a way that benefits the well-being of many more animals—now and in the future.
What is next for ifaw in Ukraine and the region?
IFAW is known for our frontline emergency response work and long-term recovery commitments.
When the war began, the recovery phase was outlined alongside our emergency response phase. We plan to address the welfare needs of companion animals and wildlife (both captive and native) with four key priorities.
1. Protect wildlife and native habitats
- Assess veterinary needs across the country and provide support to rebuild veterinary capacity gaps.
- Help wildlife sanctuaries and rescue centers accelerate recovery efforts and ensure facilities are operational.
- If requested, work with EAZA to provide interim support for animals in zoos.
- Partner with Ukrainian rescue centers to rescue, rehabilitate and release native wildlife impacted by the war.
- Aid in habitat restoration and promote critical landscape conservation for vulnerable habitats and wildlife areas.
2. Develop infrastructure for animals in crisis
- Promote policies that improve the individual welfare of community animals and wildlife in Ukraine and the region. The inclusion of recovery support, infrastructure development and planning for all animals in conflicts is vital for the future of animals in Ukraine.
3. Promote healthy people and animals
- Collaborate with the Ukrainian government and NGO partners to minimize disease transmission and promote the health of all animals and people, including all livelihoods and habitats.
4. Plan for animals in crisis
- Our coordination with other NGOs is an important part of maximizing a positive and meaningful impact on animals in this crisis.
- Bring together Ukrainian authorities, local animal organizations, aid recipients and international and strategic stakeholders in the region to develop a common strategy for the future of animal welfare in Ukraine.
How long will ifaw stay in/around Ukraine to support animals?
IFAW's response is a multi-year commitment on our part and we will continue to provide critical aid—veterinary care, animal food, emergency funds, pet supplies—where it is needed most. Our current plan for the recovery phase focuses on improving animal welfare standards and practices, as well as building back more resilient facilities, systems and wildlife habitats.
What is ifaw doing to improve animal welfare during future crises?
We build strategic and strong networks across Europe be able to immediately address crisis needs in the region. IFAW’s advocacy and policy work in Europe focuses on Response, Risk Reduction and Preparedness. We promote the inclusion of animals in national and regional disaster preparedness and response plans. We are advocating for animals to be included in European governments’ national disaster plans.
For example, in the Netherlands, IFAW was key in setting up a joint national NGO support structure, officially recognized by the government, for refugees who fled Ukraine with their animals and entered the country. We were also successful in getting commitment from the Dutch government to add animals in their disaster plans. In addition, we are running a pilot project with a city council to incorporate the evacuation and sheltering of animals in their disaster preparedness and response plans.
Does ifaw collaborate with other organizations on efforts for Ukraine?
We believe that collaboration with partners magnifies our impact, particularly during times of crisis.
Careful coordination allows us to avoid any duplication of effort and ensures all resources are deployed efficiently. While working on the Ukraine crisis, we have partnered with many organizations, including, but not limited to: EAZA (European Association of Zoos and Aquaria), EARS, Four Paws, HSI (Humane Society International), Dogs Trust International, WSAVA/USAVA, FVE (Federation of Veterinarians of Europe), ICAM, Greater Good Charities, World Central Kitchen, Vets Without Borders, and the veterinary authorities of Romania and Moldova.
Going forward, we will continue to incorporate strategic partners, including government agencies, to strengthen sustainable interventions and recovery in the region.
We remain transparent about the costs and risks of directing donor funds and managing a major rescue effort. The administrative fees reflect this financial reality and our commitment to direct funds to where they are needed most, along with the costs of managing such an effort.
Where we have determined that we cannot reasonably direct immediate funds to the Ukraine disaster response, we will direct funds to the European Disaster Response Fund and the IFAW Global Rescue Fund to allow us to address long-term rescue needs in the region and beyond, consistent with the IFAW rescue mission.
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