A 360° look at life along the contact line in eastern Ukraine

Published: Feb 24, 2021 Reading time: 2 minutes
A 360° look at life along the contact line in eastern Ukraine
© People in Need

The conflict in Donbas, eastern Ukraine, has raged for nearly seven years. Today, some 3.4 million people require humanitarian assistance, more than 3,300 civilians have been killed, and more than 7,000 have been injured. Frequent shelling and landmines continue to impact the well-being of the region’s residents. Eastern Ukraine has some of the highest numbers of landmines in the world. Since 2014, more than 1,000 civilians have been killed or injured by mines and other explosive remnants of war.     

A 427-kilometre frontline divides what used to be the most densely populated and industrially productive part of the country, separating government and non-government-controlled areas. Many families and friends have been forcibly separated and are unable to meet or visit. Market links have been disrupted. Many enterprises have shed jobs or collapsed. Entire communities in the region have fallen into poverty. One-third of those in need in Donbas are elderly, which makes the crisis in eastern Ukraine one of the “oldest” humanitarian crises in the world.

In settlements like Opytne, a frontline village just a few kilometers from Donetsk near the now-destroyed Donetsk Airport, the situation is extremely difficult. There is no water, electricity or gas, hospital, or public transportation. People are isolated from the world and without access to basic services. All the houses are marked by the shelling.

But despite the ongoing fighting, 38 people still live here. Most young people have left; mainly, it is the elderly who have stayed.

To support people in the settlements along the contact line in eastern Ukraine, People in Need is delivering water to locations with no access to drinking water. We are also providing psycho-social support to conflict-affected populations, rebuilding homes and social institutions and engaging in extensive advocacy efforts to bring attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis. This is all possible thanks to funding from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations Department (ECHO).   

Author: Alyona Budagovska, PIN Ukraine Communications Manager

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