Eight years of conflict in the east of Ukraine escalated into a full-scale war on 24 February 2022, causing death, destruction and displacement for millions of people across the country. 17.6 million people were estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance in 2023, including 6.3 million internally displaced people and 11.3 million people who returned or remained home. Almost 16 million people received humanitarian assistance in 2022.
Throughout the winter months, the Russian Federation attacked critical energy infrastructure, leaving thousands with no heating, water or gas. Many residential buildings were also damaged and destroyed, killing and injuring civilians and forcing millions more to leave their homes. While indiscriminate attacks continued in different regions of Ukraine, the south was struck by the Kakhovka Dam breach on 6 June 2023, causing flooding and the displacement of thousands of people in the area, and leaving many regions without access to clean drinking water. Those who decided to remain are struggling to access food, water, health care, education and other essential services.
The most vulnerable people are still in need of safe housing, protection services and livelihoods support among other needs. Displaced people in rural areas are also struggling to access services. Many of those in need of assistance live in the areas beyond the control of Ukrainian government, where the response is limited due to access constraints.
NRC has been present in Ukraine since 2014. Since the escalation of the conflict in 2022, we have been continuously scaling up our response across the country and working with national partners to reach more people in need. We are providing life-saving assistance, such as food and basic relief items, to the most vulnerable people in eastern and southern Ukraine. And we are assisting hundreds of thousands of displaced people in the north and west with legal aid and information on access to services and shelter.
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
In 2022, some 16,755 people received legal information, counselling, assistance and awareness-raising activities. Our ICLA teams:
- dispatch mobile teams of lawyers and paralegals to provide emergency legal assistance and referrals
- conduct field visits to shelters and community centres to provide legal assistance and counselling to displaced people and those affected by war
- run a telephone hotline, email and other communication channels to provide legal information
- conduct advocacy efforts on legal issues to support the rights of internally displaced people and people affected by war
- provide support to legal experts and volunteers, as well as state-run legal aid centres, helping displaced people and people affected by war
Livelihoods and food security
In 2022, we assisted 184,323 displaced people and contributed to restoring their food and economic security. Our livelihoods, food security and multi-purpose cash assistance teams:
- provide cash transfers to give people the independence to purchase what they specifically need
- support business relocated from the areas of hostilities to Lviv and Ternopil regions
- provide electronic food vouchers for people to buy groceries in partnership with supermarket chains
- support local government to improve the employability of internally displaced and conflict-affected people
Shelter, water, sanitation and hygiene
We work to ensure displaced people and those affected by war have access to shelter, water, hygiene and sanitation. In 2022, some 132,984 individuals benefited from improved access to sanitation at shelters in the areas of restricted access and in newly accessible territories. Nearly 150,000 people were assisted with small to medium repairs of houses damaged by attacks, as well as assistance at transit sites and collective centres for displaced people.
- improve access to water for communities close to the frontline
- work with health and government actors to improve water, sanitation and hygiene facilities and infrastructure
- provide hygiene and emergency shelter kits to people living in remote areas close to the frontline
- support with small to medium repairs of damaged houses
- provide electronic vouchers for people to buy emergency construction materials
Protection, site management and UDOC
The programme focuses on support to individuals and communities to have access to greater safety and enhanced resilience to the protection risks. In 2022 we reached nearly 9,000 people under our protection programme.
- focus on preventing and responding to protection risks
- aim to strengthen ability to withstand and recover from protection shocks
- provide support and strengthen capacities of the collective centres
- support IDPs outside of collective sites, including the host communities
NRC strives to ensure that all displacement-affected children and youth enjoy quality, safe and inclusive learning opportunities relevant to their psychosocial, emotional and cognitive development and needs. Education offers a safe space to begin the recovery process in a predictable, secure environment where children and youth can make friends, play, relax and begin learning again.
- builds the capacity of teachers on the newly introduced Better Learning Programme
- initiates the Better Learning Programme in schools to support displaced children
- supports partners in engaging youth and creating conditions for participation in the communities
We aim to ensure that people affected by the war have safe, unhindered access to humanitarian assistance and protection services. We also contribute to findings solutions to allow displaced people and people affected by the war to repair their lives, houses and businesses, and be protected by the government in doing so.
- implements advocacy actions that contribute to the fulfilment of human rights
- aims to remedy the human rights violations, including housing, land and property (HLP) rights
- Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs (NMFA)
- Directorate-General for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO)
- Ukraine Humanitarian Pooled Fund (UHF)
- USAID's Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA)
- European Commission Directorate-General International Partnerships (INTPA)
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- German Federal Foreign Office (GFFO)
- Oak Foundation
- Belgium Directorate-General for Development Cooperation and Humanitarian Aid (DGD)