Two years on Ukrainian refugees in neighbouring countries struggle to make ends meet

Published 16. Apr 2024
  • In Moldova, 71 per cent of respondents rely on humanitarian aid as their primary income source, and 37 per cent of respondents cannot meet basic needs despite receiving assistance.
  • In Poland, 41 per cent of respondents mention they get insufficient income for themselves and their households.
  • 57 per cent of respondents in Poland and 48 per cent in Moldova have been displaced for over 18 months.
  • 43 per cent of respondents in Moldova and 44 per cent of respondents in Poland express uncertainty about their future.

As refugees from Ukraine in the Republic of Poland and the Republic of Moldova enter their third year of life in displacement, new data from a Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC) survey conducted between December 2023 and February 2024 reveals an urgent need for increased assistance and support. The survey, which gathered responses from more than 1,100 individuals, provides in-depth insights into the hardships endured by refugees from the ongoing war in Ukraine.

“Two years on, refugees from Ukraine, especially the elderly, struggle to make ends meet across neighbouring European host countries. The lack of income and ongoing needs can lead to premature and unsafe returns at a time when the war in Ukraine shows no signs of stopping. The international and local NGO community has a strong role to provide targeted support to meet diverse needs and vulnerabilities. Our own interventions must continue to complement where government assistance falls short for vulnerable households,” said Neil Brighton, NRC’s Country Director in Poland.

The survey underscores the urgent economic struggles experienced by refugees from Ukraine in their host countries. In Poland, 58 per cent of respondents cite employment as their main source of income. However, a staggering 80 per cent of these individuals expressed that their income is insufficient to meet basic needs or does not cover them at all. Similarly, in Moldova, 71 per cent of respondents reported relying primarily on assistance from humanitarian agencies for income, with 37 per cent reporting an inability to meet basic needs.

“As we transition from an emergency to a protracted crisis, there is a real risk that as funding drops, vulnerable refugees will be plunged into further hardship, with many facing poverty and repeated displacements. It is essential that the international community does not abandon Ukrainian refugees.

“As European Union member states and humanitarian agencies meet today in Brussels for the Ukraine Senior Officials Meeting, it is imperative that the plight of Ukrainian refugees in neighbouring countries is not forgotten. Support for all those affected by the war in Ukraine must continue both inside and outside the country’s borders,” said NRC’s Country Director in Moldova, Jacopo Caridi.

NRC urges the international community and donors to urgently work with the host country governments and civil society organisations to find durable solutions for the long-term needs of this displaced population.

Notes to editors:

  • Between January and February 2024, NRC and research company Upinion conducted an online survey with conflict-affected and displaced persons from Ukraine, in Poland and Moldova. A total of 1,100 respondents engaged with the online survey.
  • In 2023, only 14.3 per cent of the funding necessary to cover the UN and partners' Humanitarian Response Plan for Ukraine in Poland was covered, and 31 per cent in Moldova, according to the Financial Tracking System Poland Financial Tracking System Moldova. This year, Poland is expected to respond to 1.1 million refugees from Ukraine and Moldova to 90,000, according to the RRP 2024 .
  • To date, through partnerships with 16 local organisations, NRC Poland has assisted over 250,000 persons since the escalation of the war in March 2022 (114,603 in 2023). In Moldova, from 2022 until 2023, NRC's programme through direct implementation and partnerships with 15 local organisations assisted 92,990 persons displaced from Ukraine.
  • In Poland, NRC works entirely through local partners and engages in advocacy and programme interventions, including legal aid, education, livelihoods, shelter, protection from violence, and targeted cash for basic needs.
  • In Moldova, NRC works through direct implementation and partnership modalities. NRC provides assistance in Information, Counselling, Legal Assistance (ICLA), Shelter, Livelihoods, Education, and Protection from Violence. NRC also engages in advocacy initiatives to bring attention of the relevant stakeholders to the challenges faced by displaced persons from Ukraine. 
  • Read the full report here. 


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