We strive to help internally displaced persons in conflict-affected communities, especially along the front-line (the so-called “contact-line”) in Luhansk oblast and in the northern districts of Donetsk oblast, both government controlled areas. In 2016, we opened a field office in Stanytsia Luhanska in order to assist civilians in this front-line district – including the thousands who travel regularly between government controlled areas and non-government controlled areas.
We provide support to improve the living conditions of the most vulnerable conflict-affected populations in government controlled areas.
Humanitarian and political background
The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine remained unresolved despite diplomatic efforts and numerous cease-fire agreements. Throughout 2016, hostilities occurred regularly along the contact-line. Over 4 million persons have been affected by the conflict, with the civilians living along both sides of the front-line considered as the most vulnerable. Since the start of hostilities, more than 9,900 people have been killed, 2,000 of which are civilians; 23,246 people have been wounded. As of February 2017, some 1.65 million persons remained registered as internally displaced.
Civilians in eastern Ukraine are severely affected. According to the UN, some 3.8 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance. Over 3,1 million Ukrainians have been displaced by the violence, and struggle to access their rights. Of those, some 1,5 million have fled the country.
In many areas affected by the hostilities, particularly along the front-lines, civilians lack basic services. Employment is scarce, the sick cannot access medical care, and the population at large lacks adequate food, shelter, heating and money. Prices of basic goods continued to grow. Freedom of movement across the front-line remains a major challenge, with security concerns and administrative barriers; nevertheless, it is estimated that 700,000 civilians travel between government controlled and non-government controlled areas every month in order to maintain family ties, look after property, access markets, health care and social payments.
People we helped in Ukraine in 2016
NRC in Ukraine
The situation in Ukraine remains volatile and of concern to the international community. With the needs of affected-communities being diverse, our activities in the field include Information, Counselling and Legal Assistence (ICLA), Shelter and Food Security/Livelihoods that assist people both in the conflict and post-conflict areas. Due to the unstable situation, new and secondary displacements can take place, but we still manage to reach out to people that need immediate help. At the same time, we work to limit the risk of protracted displacement.
Through our Ukraine programme, we provide shelter, non-food items, legal aid, food security and livelihood assistance to civilians forced to flee, the families that host them, and other vulnerable groups.
We began our activities in Ukraine in late 2014, delivering emergency assistance. In April 2015, we started our Country Programme in Ukraine.
We operate from our country office in Kyiv, with field offices in the Luhansk and Donetsk regions of eastern Ukraine.
Shelter and Non-food assistance
We help people displaced by conflict through:
- Providing emergency shelters.
- Providing shelter materials to make repairs.
- Reconstructing destroyed and damaged houses.
- Repairing community infrastructure, such as hospitals and schools.
- Preparing civilians for the cold winter temperatures with fuel and proper house insulation.
- Distributing hygiene kits.
- Providing items such as water filters, toilets, washbasins, water pumps, and water heaters for hospitals and schools.
Information, Counselling and Legal Assistance (ICLA)
To protect civilians who had to flee or live close to the front-line, we provide free legal information and counselling.
Our activities include:
- Operating three legal aid centres.
- Dispatching mobile teams of lawyers.
- Making home visits to the elderly and people with disabilities.
- Running a telephone hotline.
- Organising group information sessions.
- Conducting research and advocacy efforts on legal issues of displaced civilians.
Food Security and Livelihoods
Through food security and livelihood activities, we aim to restore agricultural productive capacity and sustainable livelihoods, improve access to markets by communities living along the front-line:
- Providing small business development grants to develop the economic recovery in the area concerned.
- Assisting the most vulnerable and food insecure households and communities to restore infrastructure necessary for sustained self-reliance.
- Provide cash payments so that people can buy food.
- Provide vulnerable families with agricultural assistance to promote self-sufficiency.
NRC in Ukraine
A Front-Line Education
The village of Troitske is only 4 km from the front-line in Luhansk region, eastern Ukraine. Its southern and western outskirts are surrounded by separatist controlled territories, making the people feel trapped in this front-line area.
So close, yet so far away
Historically united as one community, villages Zhovte and Lobacheve in the Luhansk region of eastern Ukraine are today separated as a result of war.
Bleak prospects for people in eastern Ukraine
Two and a half years after conflict erupted in eastern Ukraine, life for people is harder than ever. “An increasing number of vulnerable civilians remain subject to deepening humanitarian hardship. They are starting to lose hope,” said Christopher Mehley, Country Director for the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) in Ukraine.