Ukraine

Situation Report

Highlights

  • Central Emergency Response Fund helps almost 1,000 families restore livelihoods
  • US$52 million urgently needed to address most acute and time-critical humanitarian needs ahead of winter
  • More than half of the families living near the “contact line” cannot access healthcare
  • Over 1,200 houses in Government controlled areas of Luhanska oblast need urgent repair ahead of winter
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People are lining up to cross the "contact line" through the "Maiorske" checkpoint (Donetska oblast). Credit: OCHA Ukraine/Yevhen Maloletka

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Ukraine

Situation Report

Key Figures

5.2M
People affected
3.5M
People in Need
2.3M
People targeted to reach

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Ukraine

Situation Report

Funding

$164.4M
Required
$63.8M
Received
39%
Progress
FTS

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Contacts

Alice Armanni Sequi

Head of Office

Jean-Francois Ruel

New York Desk Officer

Valijon Ranoev

Public Information/Reporting Officer

Ukraine

Situation Report
Feature
A woman in a hard-to-reach settlement receives one-day-old chickens. Photo: FAO/Viktoriia Mykhalchuk.
A woman in a hard-to-reach settlement receives one-day-old chickens. Photo: FAO/Viktoriia Mykhalchuk.

Central Emergency Response Fund helps almost 1,000 families restore livelihoods

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has paralyzed the economic and agricultural activity of an otherwise fervent region, severely impacting the wellbeing and living standards of vulnerable people. Unemployment has doubled in the government-controlled areas of Donetska oblast and tripled in Luhanska oblasts between 2013 and 2018. Access to farmland, which was one of the primary sources of income for many families living close to the “contact line,” is severely curtailed due to landmines, making it essential to support people with livelihood activities. 

The UN’s Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) allocated some US$6 million to Ukraine earlier in 2019. That was a timely support for life-saving humanitarian interventions across both sides of the “contact line” but also projects to address urgent livelihoods needs. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) used that allocation to deliver more than 28,000 chickens to almost 1,000 households in over 30 settlements close to the “contact line.” This means a new source of income – and protein – for families otherwise living in poverty and isolation due to shelling, landmine contamination and disruption of transportation. Households have also received feed and a step-by-step guide to look after the chickens. Ahead of winter, when expenses related to keeping houses warm will add further strain to people’s already overstretched resources, the poultry will come handy.

The CERF’s allocation will help prevent people from suffering further economic losses. The income generated from selling the eggs will help families regain a level of self-sufficiency, but also complement the livelihoods capacities that they have. Over 2,000 additional families are expected to receive vital livelihood assistance through this allocation. As with all CERF projects, this one targets the most vulnerable: mothers with many children, families with pregnant women, breastfeeding mothers and the elderly – all living in hard-to-reach settlements.  

The US$6 million CERF allocation is responding to the needs of some 250,000 most vulnerable people on both sides of the “contact line” in 2019. Life-saving humanitarian and protection interventions are making a difference. The project is but one of many examples which demonstrate that humanitarians on the ground are making a significant impact on people’s lives, even with minimal resources.

As needs remain high, more resources are needed. The Humanitarian Coordinator has recently appealed for US$52 million for critical humanitarian activities between now and end of 2019. These are the resources required to meet the most priority, urgent needs that simply cannot go unaddressed.

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Ukraine

Situation Report
Emergency Response
Priorities

US$52 million urgently needed to address most acute and time-critical humanitarian needs ahead of winter

In the first six months of 2019, more than 650,000 people have received humanitarian assistance and protection services on both sides of the ‘contact line’. However, the response has been challenged due to a lack of funds. The discontinuation of food assistance to over 30,000 vulnerable people is one of the many examples of the impact that underfunding has had. With needs exceeding the resources to respond, people’s conditions are expected to be even more severe with the start of winter.

The Humanitarian Coordinator is urgently calling for US$52 million to allow UN agencies and NGOs to meet humanitarian needs in 2019 that simply cannot go unmet. This priority funding represents some 30 per cent of our annual appeal and is intended to meet the acute and time-critical needs of the most vulnerable.

The projects proposed under this appeal cut across different types of humanitarian action, from education, food, health, shelter, and protection to water and sanitation. They seek to provide some 25,000 food people with food; some 80,000 people with critical health services; some 70,000 people with winter protection, and thousands more with aid across other sectors without which, their conditions will simply significantly deteriorate.

The people of eastern Ukraine are only two months away from facing their sixth winter of conflict. Their resources have long reached a breaking point. The relief that aid agencies can provide will make a huge difference for people affected. Strengthened donor support is therefore needed more than ever - it is time to turn these priority projects into real action.

See the priorities document for a detailed account of needs and requirements: https://www.humanitarianresponse.info/en/node/186817

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Ukraine

Situation Report
Analysis
health access new-02-01-01

More than half of the families living near the “contact line” cannot access healthcare

The conflict in eastern Ukraine, now in its sixth year, has hindered access to healthcare for millions of people. According to the Protection and Health/Nutrition clusters, some 40 per cent of families living within 20-km of the “contact line” face significant challenges accessing healthcare services. The closer one gets to the “contact line,” the more difficult it is to access healthcare. A staggering 57 per cent of families do not have safe and adequate access to hospitals and medical services within five kilometers of the “contact line.” Multifaceted impact on healthcare systems 

There are about 600 primary health care facilities throughout Luhanska and Donetska oblasts in Government controlled areas (GCA) and along the “contact line” in non-Government controlled areas (NGCA). Over 35 per cent of them have sustained damage and an unknown number is in disrepair due to lack of maintenance. Lack of healthcare workers, who long left eastern Ukraine in search of safety and/or better opportunities elsewhere, hinders access to healthcare even more. Shortage of critical medical supplies, equipment and basic commodities continue to be reported across all conflict-affected areas, while costs for medical care continues to rise. Humanitarian agencies operating in NGCA also report shortage of medication for diabetes, cardiovascular conditions, cancer, and other non-communicable diseases.

In Luhanska and Donetska oblasts, in areas under government control, some 40 per cent of the population experience trauma resulting in stress, depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. However, there is a general lack experience in treating issues of mental health. 

Isolated communities suffer the most. In the communities close to the “contact line”, availability of public transport, damage to roads and restricted movement through military checkpoints further challenge people’s access to healthcare. Restrictions of movements, often due to the presence of landmines or constant shelling, also mean that ambulances cannot reach patients, putting people with disabilities, the elderly, and families with young children, at most risk of being unattended. 

According to Protection and Nutrition/Health Clusters, 8 in 10 families living within the 20-kilometers of the “contact line” also find the cost of medicine as one of the main challenges, especially as it is associated with transportation costs. For this reason, mobile clinic services and humanitarian efforts that aim to reach these isolated settlements are deeply critical. An allocation of some US$3.2 million by the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, which is expected to be disbursed by September 2019, will address some of these challenges. 

Humanitarian action to date is making a significant difference – over 200,000 people benefitted from healthcare support programmes between January and June 2019.  However, in a situation where 1.3 million people need access to healthcare in the East, much more needs to be done. First, practical measures to address challenges in terms of distance, cost of travel and accessibility for disabled people must be urgently undertaken by the Government and prioritized by humanitarian actors; and second, with the healthcare projects under 2019 Humanitarian Response Plan funded less than 25 per cent, international donor support must urgently be strengthened. 

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Ukraine

Situation Report
Analysis
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Valentina is showing her damaged house in Sloviansk, Government-controlled area of Donetska oblast. After Valentina's house was shelled twice, only two walls remained standing. OCHA/I.Grishko/2019

Over 1,200 houses in Government controlled areas of Luhanska oblast need urgent repair ahead of winter

Despite a relative decrease in the scale of armed clashes since 2015, regular shelling continues unabated in eastern Ukraine, causing significant damage to critical civilian infrastructure and houses. The Government of Ukraine and international aid organizations have been unable to keep pace with the recurring needs, due to lack of required funds.

Significant damages yet to be addressed, as winter approaches. The Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) recently published the results of a humanitarian shelter damage assessment in the Government-controlled areas (GCA) of Luhanska oblast, conducted with the support from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in late 2018. The assessment provides an overview of the damage caused to housing, associated repair costs, and challenges faced by affected families.

The assessment covers the raions of Popasna, Novoaidar and Stanytsia Luhanska as well as the city of Lysychansk due to their proximity to the “contact line” but also the level of previous hostilities in the area. The assessment reveals that some 1,290 houses need urgent repairs – over 95 per cent of them in Popasna and Stanytsia Luhanska raions. Some 90 per cent require light and medium repairs; many are single-story single-family houses.

According to the assessment, these needs may further increase – as the security situation improves, many internally displaced persons (IDPs) are also likely to return, creating additional shelter needs. The heightened need for repair works occurs annually due to the oncoming chilly months of autumn and frosty cold months of winter.

Intentions to return and stay, despite lack of resources to repair damage homes. Despite insecurity, lack of livelihoods, and disrupted water supply and wastewater systems, most of the affected residents intend to stay in their communities. While they are hoping to repair their houses, support for this will be difficult to access.

Government shelter assistance remains inaccessible to some 9 per cent of families (who would otherwise qualify for assistance) in the titled locations, due to the absence of formal documentation confirming the tenure rights or rights of ownership. The process of receiving relevant documentation through courts required to access shelter assistance usually takes up to 12 months and may cost up to UAH10,000 in fees.

In the absence of easily accessible State support for repairing private houses, the assessment notes that people’s hope is for international assistance. A large share of the support with repair works is still carried out by international humanitarian actors such as the Norwegian Refugee Council, People in Need, ADRA, UNHCR and other organizations working in these areas, under the coordination of the Shelter and NFI Cluster. This is an urgent call for donors to strengthen their support for humanitarian shelter programmes.

So far this year, over 35,000 people have benefited from the support provided through the shelter-related projects. In 2018, such projects reached more than 140,000 people helping them with housing repairs, distribution of fuel, heaters and non-food items, winterization support and repairs of essential utility networks.

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Ukraine

Situation Report
Background
Map of Eastern Ukraine
Eastern Ukraine with the 427-km long "contact line" and five checkpoints

Humanitarian Context

As the crisis in eastern Ukraine is well into its fifth year, civilians continue to bear its heaviest brunt. Fear of shelling, violent clashes, or treading on one of the many landmines or unexploded remnants of war (eastern Ukraine has been branded one of the world’s most mine-contaminated areas) are the daily reality for millions of people living on both sides of the over 420-km-long "contact-line", which is about the length of the French-German border. Since the start of the conflict, more than 3,330 civilian men, women and children have been killed and another 9,000 injured.

The crisis in eastern Ukraine has become protracted. The long-term consequences are serious with daily hostilities damaging critical infrastructure and often disrupting essential services, such as water supply and sanitation facilities. Every month, more than 1.1 million civilian crossings were recorded at the five checkpoints in 2018, where people often have to endure long waiting hours in the bitter cold in winter and scorching heat in summer to maintain family links and access basic services. This is especially arduous for the elderly, who make up 30 per cent of all people in need, the highest proportion in the world. People are increasingly affected by mental health issues having lived in fear for far too long, and lacking self-esteem after losing their job. The economic situation of the Donbas region, once the economic heartland of Ukraine, is dire which has seriously impacted household well-being and living standards.

Despite enormous challenges, the UN and its humanitarian partners continue to deliver lifesaving assistance to millions of people across the country every month. Over the course of 2018, more than 1.3 people benefited from some form of humanitarian assistance and protection services. Since 2014, over US$470 million has been mobilized through humanitarian response plans.

The humanitarian response is coordinated within six clusters: Shelter and Non-Food Items; Protection; Health and Nutrition; Education; Water, Sanitation and Hygiene; and Food Security and Livelihoods. Cluster partners conduct joint assessments, coordinate the response and monitor humanitarian assistance and programming. Relief and early recovery supplies, including food and non-food items, shelter materials, medicine, psycho-social support and hygienic and education kits are distributed. Access to safe drinking water through in-kind as well as cash assistance is provided. Other urgent humanitarian assistance includes provision of farming inputs, mine clearance and mine-risk education as well as other protection services.

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Media

What it takes to live in eastern Ukraine? Spend two minutes with Sergii and his family who have been living in fear of shelling and landmines for almost five years.