Ukraine

Situation Report

Highlights (4 days ago)

  • 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
  • Ukraine Humanitarian Fund becomes operational
  • Nearly 100,000 people in eastern Ukraine received humanitarian aid in the first three months of 2019
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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 (2019)

$161.7M
Required
$47.6M
Received
29%
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
Analysis (4 days ago)
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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 (25 days ago)
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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
Feature (25 days ago)
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An elderly woman waits for a bus at the checkpoint "Maiorske" (Donetska oblast) after crossing the "contact line" to collect her pension. OCHA/Y. Maloletka/2019

Ukraine Humanitarian Fund becomes operational

OCHA, under the leadership of the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC), has launched the operations of the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund (UHF). The Fund has been established thanks to generous donor contributions of Estonia, Germany, Republic of Korea, Norway and Sweden and has received some US$4 million.

The Fund, which is designed to bring together contributions from donors, governments, private sector and even individuals, will help to meet the most critical needs of the most vulnerable.  It will focus on the most acute needs, while supporting the localization agenda by empowering and funding local responders. The UHF also aims to strengthen coordination, including at local levels, and leadership through the functions of the HC. 

An Advisory Board, under the leadership of the HC, has been set-up to steer the strategic direction of the Fund, supported by Review Committees to help vet projects, ensuring their consistency with technical standards and strategic direction. 

To operationalize the fund, OCHA has been reaching out to over 100 partners on both sides of the “contact line” to familiarize them with the way the UHF works, and to support them in becoming eligible for funding. As of today, nine organizations have completed the “due diligence process”, which is the second step in a three-step process of the Fund’s eligibility requirements.

The UHF aims to mobilize some US$10 million by the end of year. To do this, the continued and strengthened support of the donor community is vital. In the meantime, the Fund is considering a first allocation of US$3.2 million to cover needs on both sides of the “contact line”. 

The UHF is one of 18 country based pooled Funds around the world.  Country-Based Pooled Funds (CBPF), such as UHF, have long proven to be an effective mechanism to provide aid in areas where financial resources are scarce, and needs are acute. 

In 2018, CBPFs have allocated some US$840 million to support millions of people with healthcare, food aid, clean water, shelter, and other life-saving assistance around the world in extremely challenging settings and contexts.

Progress so far on first UHF allocation: The first allocation, which is expected to be disbursed by September, will support assistance to people with disabilities and to particularly vulnerable people on both sides of the contact line. Funding will be provided to prioritized humanitarian activities under the HRP - for people close to the “contact line”. 

This is by no surprise. People living within 5 kilometers of the “contact line” are frequently the most in need of humanitarian assistance. Shelling and landmines have isolated some 70,000 people who live in some 60 communities in areas close to the “contact line” in Government controlled areas (GCAs). Almost half of them are elderly, and some 35 per cent are people with disabilities and chronic diseases. Residents face challenges accessing social services, markets and healthcare. Many of these communities have been cut off from their typical service providers. And the presence of local authorities and humanitarian actors is compromised by insecurity. 

In NGCAs, unemployment remains a pressing concern, as firms have closed or downsized due to continued socio-economic downturn. A high proportion of households – 26 per cent - have at least one disabled member.  According to an assessment by REACH earlier in 2019, some 95 per cent of households with people with disabilities in NGCA reportedly do not receive any care support services. This makes the expected allocation even more important, for humanitarian organizations on the ground to urgently scale up a collective humanitarian action to address people’s needs.

Contributions to Ukraine Humanitarian Fund can be made by the following link: https://www.unocha.org/ukraine/about-uhf

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Ukraine

Situation Report
Emergency Response (25 days ago)
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An elderly man affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine has received humanitarian aid and brings it home to his family. IOM/V. Shuvayev

Nearly 100,000 people in eastern Ukraine received humanitarian aid in the first three months of 2019

Humanitarian action in eastern Ukraine is making a difference, despite the challenges with funds and limited access. Outcomes of a monitoring report on the implementation of HRP covering the period between January to March 2019 reveal that nearly 100,000 men, women and children have benefited from aid and protection services on both sides of the “contact line”.

Protection services, including provision of psycho-social support, legal and individual protection assistance as well as the establishment of child-friendly spaces, reached over 50,000 men, women and children. More than 15,000 children and teachers benefited from safe and protective learning environments; over 16,000 people received food and livelihoods assistance, including through cash vouchers.

However, the achievement is still less than 5 per cent of the overall target – 2.3 million people for the year. More could have been done, had there been more funds available or safe and sustained humanitarian access. By the end of the first quarter of 2019, the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), which seeks US$162 million, was only 11 per cent funded.

While funding for the 2019 HRP has slightly increased since the first quarter of 2019 (standing at 29 per cent as of 25 July), few clusters, such as Water, Sanitation and Hygiene as well as Shelter and Non-Food Items are still less than 15 per cent funded. Information on the humanitarian response for the second quarter of 2019 is being consolidated and will be released in due course.

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Ukraine

Situation Report
Background (25 days ago)
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 (110 days ago)

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.