Rachel Carson wrote a groundbreaking book about the threat to public health posed by the pesticide DDT called The Silent Crisis. This potent moniker also fits the tragedy in Ukraine. The upheaval caused by Putin and his thugs in eastern Ukraine, described by some observers as a “frozen conflict,” is driving an exploding refugee crisis. Moreover, millions of Ukrainians are losing access to the basic necessities of survival, namely food and heat.
Three months ago, our sources estimated 100,000 displaced individuals within Ukraine, the UN now estimates the number to exceed 640,000—with 105,000 new refugees registered in one week alone. UNICEF estimates 1.7 million children are affected. And at least five million people now need humanitarian assistance, more than half of whom are elderly and most vulnerable to the cold.
UN staff report that people are going to die without immediate assistance.
Yet, this skyrocketing refugee crisis has hardly been mentioned in the American media who are fixated on the Russian “incursion” and the geopolitical issues. The “silent crisis” of hundreds of thousands of people without adequate food or water has been ignored and probably will be until people die by the thousands. The silence of the media is becoming a guilty silence.
Save Ukraine Now has played a prominent role in alerting government leaders and media to the silent crisis. We issued an emergency plea during the Christmas season and are making every effort to provide desperately needed relief. Our medical team is supplying medicines and related necessities; we are flooding refugee centers with food and heating supplies; and we provided Christmas gifts to more than 1,000 orphans and refugee children.
But we, and other organizations, are getting overwhelmed by a tsunami of suffering, and the mushrooming cloud of death is frightening even the most seasoned relief organizations. We must find a way to break through this silent crisis and get the public involved – just like we did after the earthquake in Haiti – if we hope to alleviate this situation. America’s generosity and compassion are legendary, but we must become fully aware of a tragedy in order to mitigate it.