The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, which began in 2014, has remained unresolved despite diplomatic efforts and numerous cease-fire agreements.
Some 4.4 million people have been affected by the conflict and about 800,000 people are internally displaced. Meanwhile, over ten thousand have been killed and 25,000 wounded – including civilians. Over 1.9 million people, including 220,000 children, live in areas that are heavily contaminated with mines and unexploded ordnance.
About 3.4 million are in need of humanitarian assistance. Civilians living along the so-called contact line, which separates government controlled areas and non-government controlled areas, are considered the most vulnerable. Here, employment is scarce, medical care is difficult to access, and many don’t have adequate food, shelter or heating.
Although freedom of movement is a challenge, over one million civilians risk their lives by crossing the frontlines (the so-called “contact line”) every month, despite armed clashes, to maintain family ties, look after property, and access markets or health care.
People we helped in Ukraine in 2017
NRC supports internally displaced Ukrainians and civilians in government controlled areas in the regions of Luhansk and Donetsk, especially along the contact line.
Our support addresses basic needs, but as displacement becomes protracted, we have also begun to contribute to durable solutions. In areas away from the frontlines, our activities in the country are shifting from emergency relief to early-recovery and recovery activities.
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
Between May and August 2018, we provided legal services to 4,988 people.
Our ICLA teams:
- operate three legal aid centres
- dispatch mobile teams of lawyers
- make home visits to the elderly and people with disabilities
- run a telephone hotline and a Facebook page for legal information
- conduct research and advocacy efforts on legal issues concerning displaced civilians and civilians affected by the conflict
- help strengthen capacity of local lawyers and state-run legal aid centres on the rights of internally displaced people
Livelihoods and food security
We work to restore Ukrainians’ self-reliance and sustainable livelihoods. For communities living along the contact line, we improve access to local markets. Between May and August 2018, we assisted 186 individuals (132 families) through various projects and activities.
Our livelihoods and food security team:
- provides cash transfers, so people can buy food and meet their basic needs
- assists the most food insecure households and communities to restore infrastructure of vital importance for community welfare
- provides agricultural assistance to restore production capabilities
- provides small business development grants to stimulate economic recovery and self-employment
- assists unemployed internally displaced and other conflict-affected people to increase employability through vocational training courses
- supports establishment of community centres for displaced people and host communities
- supports expansion of public services – like training for unemployed and agricultural extension services – in order to improve coverage in remote areas
Shelter and settlements
We work to make sure that displaced Ukrainians and civilians along the contact line in Luhansk region have roofs over their heads, heating, fuel for winter and household items. Between May- August 2018, 28 families (76 people) received aid from NRC to repair their damaged or destroyed houses. In addition, 28 families (82 people) from three frontline districts received hand presses and wood shredders so that they can produce fuel briquettes from wood cuttings and waste materials to heat their homes in the winter.
Our shelter team:
- provides emergency shelter, recovery shelter (through light and medium, heavy repairs) and full reconstruction of houses
- repairs community infrastructure, like hospitals, centres for elderly, schools, and orphanages
- prepares civilians for cold winter temperatures with fuel and proper housing insulation
In total, between May and August 2018, we helped 158 people with shelter and household items.
NRC in Ukraine
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- The World Food Programme (WFP)
- The European Commission's Directorate-General for International Cooperation and Development
- The Vatican “Pope for Ukraine” Fund
Rebuilding their lives on Ukraine’s frontline
“If someone had told me four years ago that I would become a cheesemaker, I would never have believed it,” a smiling Ihor Rishko, 34, says.
Getting by after four years of war in Ukraine
Anastasiia Ursova lives in a small village with her husband Mikhail and their two young sons. But it was not always like that. One night in 2014, they took the last train to escape from heavy artillery attacks.