Humanitarian and military aid accounts for Ukraine had already been created before Russia completely invaded the state on February 24. However, since then, financial and other donations have been greatly simplified and have become more transparent. This, combined with Czech outrage at Russia’s actions and feelings of empathy for Ukrainians, has resulted in record donations to Ukrainian civilians and military forces.
Most of the donations went to the SOS Ukraine account managed by the humanitarian NGO People in Need. The organization had raised more than 1.2 billion CZK crowns as of Monday, March 7. Another CZK 125 million was collected through the Czech Red Cross account and the Czech branch of Caritas reported more than CZK 83 million entering its Ukrainian accounts.
A further CZK 160 million was raised through the Czech TV concert in support of Ukraine held in Wenceslas Square last week and several smaller charity concerts were also held across the country. Czech Radio is expected to raise additional funds through its concert which will see the Prague Radio Symphony Orchestra perform at the Rudolfinum in Prague next Monday.
In total, the Czechs have provided more than CZK 1.5 billion in humanitarian aid to Ukraine in less than two weeks. This already exceeds the previous record of CZK 1.3 billion, which was lifted following the devastation of South Moravia by a tornado last year.
In addition to helping civilians and refugees, many Czechs are also keen to support the Ukrainian armed forces in their asymmetric fight against a much more powerful Russian army. Nearly CZK 500 million was raised for this purpose through an account opened by the Ukrainian Embassy in Prague. Meanwhile, the NGO Post Bellum, normally focused on collecting historical testimonies, has collected around CZK 120 million for the purchase of vital equipment for the defense of Ukraine, ranging from medical equipment to drones and helmets.
In addition to financial aid, there are also a multitude of ways in which the Czechs try to help concretely. Collections of various materials, such as clothing, are organized by the state to towns, schools and local businesses. Many Czechs also provide housing for refugees in their apartments and country houses.
It is estimated that around 100,000 Ukrainian refugees have arrived in the Czech Republic since the start of the conflict, with thousands more expected to arrive in the coming days.