Eight years of conflict in the east of Ukraine escalated into a full-scale international armed conflict with Russia on 24 February 2022, causing death, destruction and displacement for millions of people across the country. Almost 18 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance in 2023, including 5.3 million internally displaced people and 8 million refugees living abroad.
Throughout the winter months, the Russian Federation attacked critical energy infrastructure, leaving thousands with no heating, water or gas. Many residential buildings were also targeted, killing and injuring civilians and forcing millions more to leave their homes. Those who decided to remain struggled to access food, water, health care, education and other essential services. Almost 16 million people received humanitarian assistance in 2022.
The most vulnerable displaced people are living in collective centres, many of which are not properly equipped to meet long-term accommodation needs. Displaced people in rural areas are also struggling to access services. Many of those in need of assistance live in non-government-controlled areas, where the response is limited due to access constraints.
NRC has been present in Ukraine since 2014. Since the escalation of the war in 2022, we have been continuously scaling up our response across the country and working with national partners. 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.
We have also started cross-border operations into Ukraine through neighbouring countries, providing food and other supplies along evacuation routes.
Information, counselling and legal assistance (ICLA)
In 2022, some 16,755 people received legal information, counselling, assistance and awareness-raising activities. Our ICLA teams:
- assist displaced people and those affected by war at crossings and entry points, including train stations, in multiple cities
- 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
- help to strengthen the capacity of 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
- provide electronic food vouchers for people to buy groceries and other necessities, in partnership with supermarket chains
- provide agricultural assistance to restore production capabilities
- support local government to improve the employability of internally displaced and conflict-affected people
Water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) promotion
We work to ensure displaced people and those affected by war have access to water, shelter and sanitation. In 2022, some 132,984 individuals benefited from improved access to sanitation at shelters in hard-to-reach areas and newly accessible territories. Nearly 150,000 people were assisted with small to medium repairs of houses damaged by attacks, as well as 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 (WASH) facilities and infrastructure
- provide hygiene kits to people living in hard-to-reach areas close to the frontline
- assist people living in shelters and provide transit accommodation for those fleeing from hostilities
- support with small to medium repairs of houses damaged by attacks
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. In Ukraine, the implementation of the program is just starting, but we are working to ensure that the children could receive the help they need as soon as possible.
Our Education team:
- 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.
- 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/EIDHR
- Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida)
- French Ministry of Foreign Affairs
- German Federal Foreign Office