The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine, which began in 2014, has remained unresolved despite diplomatic efforts and numerous cease-fire agreements.
Some 5.2 million people have been affected by the conflict and about 800,000 people are permanently internally displaced. Over 3,000 civilians have been killed. Two million people living in government-controlled areas are exposed to explosive ordnances. It’s not possible to assess the level of mine contamination in non-government-controlled areas, but it is likely to be significant.
About 3.4 million need humanitarian assistance. Civilians living along the 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 every month, despite armed clashes, to maintain family ties, look after property, and access markets or health care.
People we helped in Ukraine in 2019
We support internally displaced Ukrainians in conflict-affected communities in government-controlled areas of the Luhansk and Donetsk regions, especially along the contact line.
Our support addresses basic needs, but as displacement becomes protracted, we have also begun to contribute to durable solutions. Our activities in the country are transitioning from emergency relief to early recovery. We work to improve the delivery of services to conflict affected people and to increase local ownership of the humanitarian response.
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
In 2020, 52,050 people received legal information, counselling, assistance and awareness-raising activities.
Our ICLA teams:
- operate two legal aid centres
- dispatch mobile teams of lawyers
- conduct field visits to the settlements along the contact line and settlements hosting internally displaced people
- make home visits to the elderly and people with disabilities, as well as to hard-to-reach communities
- 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 the capacity of local lawyers and state-run legal aid centres to support the rights of internally displaced people
Livelihoods and food security
We work to restore Ukrainians’ self-reliance and sustainable livelihoods. In 2020, we assisted 12,500 individuals.
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
- supports local government to improve employability of internally displaced and conflict-affected people
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
We work to make sure that displaced people and civilians along the contact line have access to water, sanitation, and health. In 2020, 48,107 individuals benefited from improved access to sanitation at crossing points and from mitigation measures that prevented the spread of Covid-19.
Our WASH team:
- improves access to water in communities close to the contact line
- works with health and government actors to improve WASH facilities at primary care and social institutions
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- The UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR)
- The US Agency for International Development (USAID)
- European Commission / EIDHR
About NRC in Ukraine
Covid-19 and conflict causing chaos for people in eastern Ukraine
Thousands of people in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine are going hungry and lack access to basic services due to Covid-19 price hikes and movement restrictions. Ongoing shelling has also disrupted vital water supplies - meaning many vulnerable and elderly are without access to running water during the pandemic.