IAGG Statement - Older Victims of the Ukraine War
As war rages in Ukraine and atrocities mount, we are reminded that older people are particularly vulnerable. During the last two months of the unprovoked conflict, thousands of families have fled the country. Tragically, many older adults have been unable to leave because they are frail, ill, have limited mobility, or are unwilling or afraid to leave. People living with dementia are at the greatest risk of not receiving the help they desperately need. In addition, many older people have stayed behind in order not to impede the flight of family members seeking a safe place of refuge.
Conditions are tough among those in long-term care facilities. Older people within war are at risk of psychological trauma, infection and starvation due to lack of food and medical treatment, resulting in a crisis of epic proportions. Ukraine has more than 7 million people aged 60 and over, which is 17 percent of the population. https://corona-older.com/2022/03/08/covid-war-and-older-people-in-ukraine/ At least two million older people in the eastern region of Ukraine are at extreme risk of neglect and social isolation. https://www.helpage.org/newsroom/latest-news/ukraine-older-people-face-abandonment-and-isolation-as-conflict-with-russia-intensifies/
What can the world do to save them? We need to participate in all humanitarian efforts to help them evacuate.
HelpAge International is calling for "an urgent diplomatic solution to the crisis to prevent a humanitarian catastrophe in a country where people have yet to recover from the 2014 conflict." https://www.helpage.org/newsroom/latest-news/ukraine-older-people-face-abandonment-and-isolation-as-conflict-with-russia-intensifies/
The United Nations calls for “the protection of persons with disabilities and older persons caught up in the violence in Ukraine…” who face an increased risk of injury and abuse as they are unwilling or unable to flee hostilities. https://www.ohchr.org/en/press-releases/2022/03/ukraine-aged-and-those-disabilities-face-heightened-risks-say-un-expert
The World Health Organization released emergency funds to support the health system for essential services used by the most vulnerable groups, especially older adults https://www.who.int/news/item/24-02-2022-who-director-general-deeply-concerned-over-escalating-health-crisis-in-ukraine
IAGG joins the world community in condemning this unwarranted victimization of older people within war.