One of the biggest crises to hit the world since the COVID-19 pandemic began is the Russo-Ukrainian war. People worldwide were surprised when Russia invaded Ukraine on Feb 24, 2022, signifying an escalated conflict that started in 2014.
The ongoing war has resulted in one of the biggest refugee crises after Syria, with the UN reporting that over five million Ukrainians had fled the country by April 2022. This massive migration occurred in just two months, with most people crossing into a neighboring country, Poland. This article highlights the effect of war on Ukraine, neighboring and distant nations, the environment, and how we can help.
The Effects of War On the World
The worst part about the ongoing war is that it doesn’t seem like it will end soon. More Ukrainians are expected to seek refuge outside of their country, especially after the latest Russian offensive in eastern Ukraine. Unfortunately, this is not the only effect of war. The section below lists the different ways the ongoing war has impacted Ukrainians and the world at large.
Declaring war on a nation can be viewed as an invasion and degradation attempt of the country’s sovereignty. Wars are fatal and often result in total paralysis of a country, including the loss of countless lives and the disruption of the economy and livelihood of the citizens. Numerous Ukrainian lives have been lost and harmed to date, with the number of casualties in thousands and the number of wounded well over 10,000.
Ukraine’s health system is steadily collapsing as the hospitals have endured incredible damage from bombings. Presently, almost 400 healthcare institutions, including hospitals, outpatient clinics, and maternity wards, have been destroyed by Russian troops. Cancer, diabetes, and surgery patients are only a small percentage of the people affected by the lack of medical resources and facilities. There’s also a severe shortage of physicians and other medical personnel, meaning decent healthcare is an increasingly rare commodity in the country.
Undoubtedly, Ukraine’s infrastructure has faced enormous destruction, resulting in massive economic losses. Even after the war is long finished, it will take many years to restore and rebuild the country.
When a country is at war, the agricultural sector is affected almost immediately as many lives and massive tracts of arable land are lost. This destruction creates adverse dynamo effects like low food production, less food exportation, and loss of income.
Did you know that Ukraine and Russia supplied an estimated 30% of the world’s barley and wheat before the ongoing Russo-Ukrainian war? Russia is the largest wheat exporter globally, while Ukraine is sixth on the same list.
Further research shows that about 50 countries depend on Russia and Ukraine for their food supply, including wheat, maize, and sunflower oils. Out of these countries, the greater majority are poor, thus significantly dependent on food imports.
It’s becoming more evident with time that Ukrainians should expect crop failures this year. Many food producers, specifically small-scale farmers, will not access the necessary tools and agricultural input like fertilizer from Russia. It also doesn’t help that Russia has enforced an export ban on wheat, rye, corn, barley, and other agricultural products. This means the ongoing food shortage and food prices will continue to escalate if nothing changes.
In addition to creating a devastating humanitarian crisis, wars have a damaging impact on the environment. With the backing of 75 countries, the Environmental Peacebuilding Association published an open letter conveying their concern over the effect of the Russo-Ukrainian war on the environment. The letter stated that by invading Ukraine, Russia had caused massive land, air, and water pollution, consequently affecting the country’s (Ukraine) industrial and energy sectors.
Ukraine is an industrialized nation, with fuel, mining, aircraft and aerospace, agriculture, and tourism topping the list. Ukraine has approximately 50 shipbuilding companies and 12 automobile companies manufacturing tractors, trucks, and diesel locomotives, among other specializations. Ukraine also operates four nuclear plants with 15 reactors, which account for half of the country’s generated electricity.
However, since the war began, Russia has taken control of some of these reactors while setting a training laboratory on the Zaporizhzhya nuclear plant ablaze. Russian missiles have struck ammonia pipelines and chemical plants, releasing very toxic substances into the environment. Agricultural lands and mine farms have also experienced explosions, leaving behind ammunition debris and destroyed croplands.
With every conflict, there are countless technological hazards affecting the industrial and energy sectors and the environment. Unfortunately, Russia doesn’t seem to be stopping anytime soon. The BBC reported that Russian troops are targeting three reactors in the Ukrainian nuclear plant near Mykolaiv to further devastate the country.
How Can I Help?
There are so many ways you can assist the people in Ukraine. You can donate food, clothing, and medical supplies and provide shelter opportunities to Ukrainian refugees where possible. Fortunately, financial aid isn’t the only way to help. With so much censorship in both Russia and Ukraine, using a reliable Ukraine proxy can raise awareness online about the ongoing war and its devastating effects.