War fatigue, Europe inflation hit Ukraine aid response
Ruslana Hrytskiv has helped "dozens, maybe hundreds" of refugees since Russia invaded Ukraine, but her task is getting tougher as war fatigue sets in and Europe battles soaring prices and record inflation.
When she tried to find shoes for Ukrainian children on Facebook this week, she found herself entangled instead in a debate on the health aspects of wearing second-hand footwear.
Her argument that the mother, who gave birth to a third child en route to Prague, simply could not afford something new for her twins failed to impress.
"The response is slower than it used to be," said Hrytskiv, a Ukrainian who has lived in the Czech Republic for over two decades.
"At the beginning, people were unexpectedly forthcoming," she noted.
Hrytskiv's experience is echoed by aid organisations across eastern Europe, which has welcomed hundreds of thousands of Ukrainian refugees, mostly women with children.
Like the rest of the continent, the region is grappling with runaway prices that make people think twice about their spending.
The record-high inflation, which reached 15.6 percent in Poland in June for instance, is fuelled by a spike in energy prices due largely to the Russian invasion that began on February 24.
"We can see somewhat less interest now in helping than at the beginning of the war," said Eszter Bakondi-Kiss, a volunteer with the Hungarian Habitat for Humanity group coordinating refugee accommodation.
"We received far more offers or applications to be a part of these programmes then," she told AFP.
Almost five months into the conflict, those helping Ukrainian refugees detect a slowing aid response as the region battles soaring living costs.
In neighbouring Slovakia, the People In Need aid group has...
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