These Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) provide a selection of questions we are receiving from our clients. A full set of FAQs are available to our subscribers and we encourage clients to sign up for our latest Ukraine alerts via email, through the Assistance App, or via our Online Portal.
Should we evacuate our employees from Ukraine?
International SOS is advising people who have the opportunity and ability to relocate from areas experiencing combat operations and can sustain themselves (access to food, water, medication and fuel, as relevant) during the journey should move as soon as possible to a south-western province (Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivtsi, Lviv or Ternopil province, by order of preference). If people prefer to leave the country due to the conflict, borders with Poland, Romania, Slovakia, Hungary and Moldova are currently open. Movement poses significant risks due to the security environment, long journey times, weather, limited availability of support and high demand for accommodation and essential goods.
People should shelter in place if in immediate proximity to ongoing armed clashes, air raids or artillery shelling or at the launch of a public raid siren and prepare to move as soon as feasible. Managers should conduct an individual risk assessment for all remaining workforce in country, and, if feasible, consider internal relocation to the south west of Ukraine (Zakarpattia, Ivano-Frankivsk, Chernivisti, Lviv and Ternopil Oblasts, by order of preference). Managers should prepare for movement when feasible to enable evacuation (for those who can depart) from Ukraine when possible.
Can International SOS assist with evacuation from Ukraine or internal relocation?
International SOS deployed members of the security team into Ukraine and surrounding locations on three occasions in January, February and March during which we refreshed our broad network of fully vetted security and ground transport providers. The scale and fluidity of the conflict in Ukraine has constrained movement and security support options in-country. Despite this, International SOS continues to conduct successful ground missions in Ukraine on a case-by-case basis and in line with robust planning and risk assessments. Staff who have the opportunity and ability to relocate from areas experiencing combat operations and can sustain themselves (access to food, water, medication, fuel as relevant) during the journey should move as soon as possible.
International SOS has providers ready to assist on the other side of the Ukrainian border in Poland, Slovakia, Romania and Moldova. We also relocated our Incident Management Team to Warsaw to support clients there. Services that may be available, depending on the location and circumstances, include reception at the border crossing, onward ground transportation, and the provision of basic refreshments or supplies.
Does International SOS have on-the-ground presence in Ukraine and surrounding countries?
Since mid-January we have deployed various Incident Management teams to Ukraine and surrounding locations to support clients with the coordination of ground moves and to engage with our local trusted provider networks. On experts on the ground remain a pivotal source of our situational intelligence and enable us to deliver the most up-to-date information and advice to our clients.
Can International SOS provide emotional support to clients in Ukraine?
International SOS has access to providers who are able to provide support to clients in Ukraine, across a variety of languages. Sessions are delivered by a certified counsellor and are tailored to your employees’ needs; they can be conducted via phone, video call, or face-to-face.
We can also arrange the set up of a dedicated counselling support hotline for an organisation requiring immediate emotional support for their employees.
Can International SOS coordinate medical assistance in Ukraine?
Access to medical care is increasingly difficult. Urgent and emergency care is still available in some locations in government facilities however in territories where active hostilities persist the health system is not functioning, power is not available and access to safe water is not assured. Shortages of oxygen, insulin, cancer therapies, and other essential supplies persist.
Urgent ambulatory and inpatient emergency care is currently available in the western regions of Ukraine, however due to the significant influx of Ukrainians from Kiev and surrounding regions, waiting times should be expected to be long, and availability of specialist care may be limited. There continues to be reliable access to urgent and emergent care in Odessa. Same situation in Lviv and in the major part of West Ukraine; there is still a functioning health system, with supplies that can more easily come from neighbouring EU countries (mostly Poland).
Can International SOS assist with evacuations from bordering countries, including Russia?
International SOS has verified potential options for evacuation from Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, and most locations in Russia, including wide-body aircraft capable of moving large numbers of passengers. The potential for additional restrictions on access into Russia, and restrictions on Russian airlines into other locations remains, and such changes may impact on timelines for evacuation.
Can International SOS support in our operational planning in Ukraine?
International SOS can support through access to our security, medical and operations teams via our 27 24/7 Assistance Centres. Consulting engagements can also support the review, guidance in, and design and development of bespoke escalation and evacuation plans and provide expert crisis management advisory services to our client CMTs.