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A man and woman with bandages on their faces stand outside a damaged building in Ukraine
Ukraine

Caring for injured civilians in armed conflict

Humanity & Inclusion’s specialists are supporting conflict survivors by providing specialized care for burn victims and people requiring amputations in western Ukraine following evacuations from besieged cities like Kyiv, Kharkiv and Mariupol. In Lviv, teams are working with hospitals to reinforce care for people injured by explosive weapons in the ongoing war.

“Burns are very specific wounds,” says Virginie Duclos, Humanity & Inclusion’s emergency rehabilitation manager and burn specialist. “They evolve over time and can have long-term functional consequences. If the care is not correct from the very beginning, there is a risk that joints may no longer work. The skin can block physical movements, and people can find themselves with thick, painful scars that can lead to social exclusion due to their appearance.”

Humanity & Inclusion is providing training sessions to physical therapists, medical staff and medical students in specialized care for burn victims and amputation patients in an emergency context.

“Hospitals have asked for support in burn care and amputation care because they’re seeing an enormous amount of patients with these needs,” Duclos explains. “They aren’t used to seeing so many, or at least not in an emergency context. We’re providing specific training to reinforce their ability to manage the situation from the peak phase to the eventual discharge of patients.”

In the event that many people are requiring limb amputation, the overall response to the Ukraine emergency will need to address prosthetics and assistive devices for injured individuals.

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Refugees in need of mobility devices

In western Ukraine, where millions are seeking safety from violent bombings in the east, Humanity & Inclusion is responding to the needs of displaced populations and people with disabilities. The organization has identified over a dozen collective centers in need of support, notably for older people and people living with disabilities.

“In one center, where there are a lot of older people, there is really a lot of need,” Duclos continues. “People are holding onto the walls just to get around the facility because they don’t have any assistive mobility devices.”

Humanity & Inclusion is already distributing assistive mobility aids such as canes, walking frames and crutches to both hospitals and collective centers housing individuals with specific needs. The organization is also providing the centers with basic supplies such as gloves and masks, and offering psychosocial support to people affected by the conflict. 

Civilian casualties continue to climb

The war in Ukraine has now caused over 3,200 civilian casualties, including 1,276 deaths. Over 10 million people have been displaced by the conflict, but thousands more remain trapped in active war zones.

“Many people are unable to evacuate safely right now,” Duclos explains. “We know the needs will increase as we get more access to injured individuals. Our goal is to meet the needs and bring benefit where we can.”

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