Ukraine Crisis: Here Is What We Have Done

Our teams worked on several projects for the victims of the war in Ukraine: providing assistance to refugees in Moldova and Italy, and delivering medicine and medical supplies to hospitals in Kyiv.

In Moldova 

Between April and December 2022, an EMERGENCY team provided primary medical care and psychological assistance in Bălți, the second most populous city in Moldova, to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Since the first days of the conflict, between February and March 2022, hundreds of thousands of people fleeing the conflict in Ukraine passed through Moldova, one of the poorest countries in Europe. Mostly women, elderly people and many children.

In March 2022, an EMERGENCY team went to Moldova to assess the needs of the population and identify the best way for us to intervene in collaboration with the local health authorities.

Based on the identified needs, and in collaboration with the local health authorities, we worked in Bălți, the second largest city in Moldova, where our Politruck offered health treatment and psychological assistance to refugees hosted in the reception centre.

A team of doctors, nurses, psychologists, cultural mediators and logisticians offered basic medical care, nursing, psychological support, and counselling on the services available on the ground to people fleeing the war in Ukraine.

In June 2022, we also started a psycho-educational project for children and young people between the ages of 5 and 14, in cooperation with the city of Balti and the ‘I. Creanga’ boarding school, with a pedagogical orientation. The activities also involved their parents and relatives.

In December 2022, given the progressive reduction in the number of patients in need of care – due both to a stabilisation of the number of refugees entering the country and to a strengthening of the Moldovan health system – the project in Bălți came to an end, with the handover of our activities to the local health authorities.

“When we launched medical activities here in Bălți, our Mobile Clinic received mainly adult patients, often elderly people with chronic illnesses, and people in need of psychological support. Those that have fled the conflict are going through an extremely difficult moment of great emotional stress and anxiety. Anxiety about what will happen, anxiety thinking about their loved ones left behind in Ukraine, and also mental and physical exhaustion.”

Andrea Bellardinelli, EMERGENCY’s Migration and Emergencies programme

The Mobile Clinic

The Politruck is the largest of EMERGENCY’s mobile clinics. It is equipped with a waiting room, two outpatient clinics and a station for psychological counselling and mediation interviews.

In the first phase of the intervention, activities took place on the Politruck. With the arrival of the cold season in October, the activities moved to the outpatient clinic in the city of Bălți.

In Ukraine

We sent hospital supplies to Ukraine, based on tailored requests made by local facilities.

In Italy

We ran several projects dedicated to people fleeing the war in Ukraine, and arriving in Italy.

In the Outpatient Clinics run by our healthcare  programme, we offered support in registering with the National Health Service and guidance on health and social services in the area.

In Milan, we provided them with social and health orientation services, and food support. One of our teams joined a reception project for refugees fleeing Ukraine, offering social and health orientation services to facilitate housing and allow access to services in the area, psychological assistance, and cultural mediation. Our staff also handled logistics management. Moreover, we ran courses of basic Italian for Ukrainian refugees in Casa Emergency and ran weekly food aid for Ukrainian families. 

“Our contribution must be effective. We must ensure our experience working in the midst of conflict is useful to those in need.
EMERGENCY wants to be there for the Ukrainian people.”Rossella Miccio, president of EMERGENCY



“In just a few days we managed to bring our Politruck over. This is our completely self-reliant mobile clinic. We also brought over a doctor, a nurse, a logistician and a psychologist, and got to work on what the Ministry of Health had tasked us with: setting up a primary healthcare service for the refugees arriving here in northern Moldova. When you are providing primary healthcare, your approach is essential – the way you interact with people who are putting themselves, vulnerable as they are, in your hands.”

Andrea Bellardinelli, EMERGENCY’s team in Moldova


Tetyana and Misha

Last March, Tetyana and her son Misha arrived in Moldova after leaving Odessa in Ukraine. 40% of the patients we treat at out Mobile Clinic come from that area. We are providing assistance to people fleeing the conflict.

Tetyana brought Misha to us because he was suffering from conjunctivitis. Tetyana tells us that, besides treatment, Misha found many ‘aunties’ – as he calls them – at the clinic who “welcomed him very warmly.”

Like so many other people we see at our Mobile Clinic in Moldova, Tetyana and Misha are just waiting for the war to end. So they can return home.


Micola is sitting outside the Mobile Clinic waiting to be triaged. He holds in his hands a canvas bag containing his passport and results from previous clinical exams.
He is 82 years old and arrived in Moldova after a two-day journey. He lost his wife many years ago and had no relatives in Kyiv, his city, so when volunteers from his neighbourhood invited him to leave Ukraine with a convoy, he accepted.
Micola enters the Mobile Clinic holding his canvas bag in his hands. The careful grip with which he clutches it makes it seem like the most important thing in his life.

Giovanna, EMERGENCY’s team

“There are recurring themes in the stories told by refugees here: the farewell to family members, to the men who stayed to fight. This is frequently accompanied by a sense of guilt for having fled.

Giovanna is a psychologist and part of EMERGENCY’s team in Moldova that is responding to the needs of refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine. At the Mobile Clinic in Bălți, EMERGENCY offers primary medical care and psychological support too.

“They often show us photos of their children, their home, their pets… thus starting the process of reconstructing the temporal continuity interrupted by the war, tying together that ‘before’ and ‘after’.”

EMERGENCY’s approach is multidisciplinary. Giovanna works alongside a mediator to welcome patients to the clinic, before listening to personal testimonies. She also works with the doctor during medical checks “precisely because we know that in emergency situations, the body often speaks and expresses emotions that we cannot yet express using words”.

Among the issues that often emerges during sessions is the inability to ‘turn off the brain’, to disconnect, even at night, thus hindering rest and the physiological processes of restoration and recovery.

This is the case of a 20-year-old patient who left her boyfriend and sister in Ukraine. We provided her with psycho-educational advice, such as to only watch the news once, maximum twice a day, and to avoid doing so as the evening approaches.

When we discovered that she was a self-taught artist who paints, we gave her drawing materials. She had forgotten hers in the rush: ‘I never thought I could forget them,’ she said. She found relief when drawing.

‘This morning I already felt better before the session because I knew I had to prepare myself, that I had a commitment, and it had been a month since it happened: being able to tell my boyfriend not to call me for the next two hours, because I was busy, was a bit like recovering who I was before, finding myself and recognising myself,’ she told us the last time we saw her.”

During such a difficult situation, dominated by uncertainty, EMERGENCY’s Mobile Clinic aims to provide the crucial medical and psychological support that so many of those who have fled the Ukraine crisis need.

N. and A.

N. Only Draws Moving Cars and A House to Leave From.
He arrived here in Bălți, Moldova, after a three-day journey from Ukraine together with five of his six siblings. At the wheel is his mother, A.
When we visit her in our Mobile Clinic, she says she has a bad headache and wants to be sure it’s nothing serious: she has to be healthy and feel well to be able to look after everyone. She is tired, the journey has been “unspeakable”, and she is still carrying everything that she left with.
“I haven’t heard from my husband or son for three days. I broke the rule we made when we left: that they would look for us, that we should not call. But I couldn’t stick to it. I called and got no answer. I tell my children that I’m sure they’re fine. But I wonder how they can believe me if I can’t even believe myself.”
A. thanks us because she has found a “safe place” where she can cry and vent her anguish without fear of falling apart.

– Giovanna, EMERGENCY’s psychologist, is part of the EMERGENCY team in Moldova. At the Mobile Clinic, in Bălți, we offer primary medical and nursing care and a psychological support service to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Federica, EMERGENCY’s team

EMERGENCY’s Mobile Clinic is in Moldova to support communities fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Federica is one of our doctors here: “Many people are coming – especially women over 60 – with chronic diseases and treatments that have stopped because of the war. They’ve had to move away from their homes, where they had a general practitioner who was their point of reference. Now they are having establish the continuity of care all over again.”

Federica’s daily activities are supported by nurse Caterina. “We have drugs for acute problems, painkillers, anti-inflammatory drugs, but also for chronic pathologies that we are seeing in the patients who come to our clinic.”

Caterina splits her role with Alexandra, a 20-year-old Moldovan nurse who has just enrolled.

In these tragic circumstances, EMERGENCY is providing psychological support too. “We are committed to this project,” says Andrea, our coordinator on the ground, “EMERGENCY is supporting the social and medical needs of the victims of this war.”

We are in Bălți

We are in Bălți, the second most populous city in the country, which is now home to three refugee centres.
The goal is to provide primary medical care and psychological assistance to refugees fleeing the war in Ukraine.

Our Mobile Clinic is currently located in front a reception centre currently hosting 200 people, and is also available to all refugees being housed in private homes and other facilities.

Andrea Bellardinelli, head of EMERGENCY’s Migration and Emergencies programme, is on the ground: “When we launched medical activities here in Bălți, our Mobile Clinic received mainly adult patients, often elderly people with chronic illnesses, and people in need of psychological support. Those that have fled the conflict are going through an extremely difficult moment of great emotional stress and anxiety. Anxiety about what will happen, anxiety thinking about their loved ones left behind in Ukraine, and also mental and physical exhaustion.”

©️ Davide Preti

As this crisis evolves, we are working with the Moldovan authorities to further strengthen our presence and services. We will be here as long as we need to be.

17 MARCH 2022

Our colleagues Gianfilippo, Maya and Adolfo show us the Politruck, the largest of our outpatients mobile clinics, equipped with a waiting room, two outpatient clinics and a station for psychological counselling and mediation.

11 MARCH 2022

Our Politruck, the largest of EMERGENCY’s Mobile Outpatient Clinics, has left for Moldova.

It will reach the ground to offer healthcare assistance to thousands of people – elderly, women and children- who are fleeing from the war in Ukraine. In this first phase of EMERGENCY’s intervention, our field team will provide nursing care, basic medicine and psychological assistance.


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We will treat chronically ill patients, while being prepared to handle any Covid-19 outbreaks. Thanks to the Mobile Outpatient Clinic, we will be able to operate in various places, and to promptly respond to any needs that may arise from this unpredictable situation.
We are committed to being there for Ukraine people.

9 MARCH 2022
From the Ukrainian border.

“We are in Moldova.

One of our first stops was Chisinau. The city is welcoming people in camps equipped for initial reception, the largest of which is a sports hall that can host about 800 people.

People seem to be in a good state of health but the elderly and chronically ill are facing difficulties in being able to follow their treatment, as always happens in emergency circumstances like these. Prevention from Covid-19 infection is a problem here in a population that is poorly vaccinated and living in close proximity.

EMERGENCY is working with the authorities to understand how to begin a health intervention involving our doctors, nurses and cultural mediators. The first step is to register EMERGENCY in Moldova in order to be recognised and contribute aid.

Meanwhile, we also went to two border posts yesterday, to see the arrivals’ situation. Palanca, the furthest border near Odessa, is 170 kilometres from the capital, and so far has been one of the main arrival points for refugees from the Ukrainian war.

Minibuses, cars, buses are all ready to take people to Chisinau or directly to Romania, Germany and Poland. Almost everyone leaves quickly, but the authorities have set up a small camp of about 300 people for people who still don’t know where to go or cannot make it.

It hurts to see the elderly staying behind so as not to be a burden on their families. This is what war is like.”
– Andrea, EMERGENCY staff, from Moldova

7 MARCH 2022
An EMERGENCY team is on Ukraine’s borders with Romania and Moldova to assess humanitarian needs and evaluate potential projects to provide care to those affected by the conflict.

“We are assessing all possibilities for EMERGENCY’s intervention both inside and on the borders of Ukraine,” says Rossella Miccio, president of EMERGENCY. “Our contribution must be effective. We must ensure our experience working in the midst of conflict is useful to those in need.

EMERGENCY wants to be there for the Ukrainian people.”

Andrea is part of our team on the ground. He tells us that there is a sense of solidarity and significant presence of aid organisations, but “the flow of people crossing the border does not stop.”

“The flow is silent and dignified. People are shocked: there can be no other reaction to such brutality. I talk to ‘V’, who has just crossed the border. ‘It’s terrible what’s happening,’ he tells me. His eyes bear the signs of incredulity in the face of war.”
Emergency UK

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