Over 6.2 million people remain internally displaced within Ukraine. 500,000 can move west before winter

Published: Jul 29, 2022 Reading time: 4 minutes
Over 6.2 million people remain internally displaced within Ukraine. 500,000 can move west before winter
© Foto: Alyona Budagovska

About half of all the people who had left their homes due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine have now returned, mostly to Kyiv and to the north of the country. But even though over 5.5 million displaced people have returned, the overall number of internally displaced people (IDPs) remains high at over 6.2 million total. An additional six million people have already sought refuge in other European countries. According to authorities, over 500,000 more people are anticipated to move west within the country before winter.

According to the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) latest report, 12% of returnees (est. 666,000 people) may be considering leaving their homes again due to the war. However, the majority (74 % est. 4.1 million people) intend to stay.

As of the 23 of June 2022, the number of returnees who plan to leave their homes again due to the war is highest in the east and south of the country, where 21% and 19% of returnees indicate that they have considered moving again. The number of people who feel this way will likely be even higher in the coming months.

The Deputy Prime Minister of Ukraine has already warned that they are anticipating that over 500,000 will move west before winter – noting that, besides needing to flee the fighting, many will have to leave areas when the gas and water supplies are cut off. Even now, IDPs from eastern Ukraine represent 61% of all IDPs in Ukraine. According to the general population survey, most IDPs are coming from the Donetsk (21%) and Kharkiv (21%) oblasts.

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Worst winter since the independence of Ukraine

A majority of IDPs (44%) are currently living in rented dwellings and almost a third of them are staying in a place that belongs to family or friends. A significant amount of displaced people also live in collective centres. Among IDPs, 29% of all respondents indicated that their home (defined as their primary residence before the war) was damaged during attacks. Among returnees, 15% indicated that there had been damage to their homes.

According to the Winterization Plan, this could be the worst winter since the independence of Ukraine in 1991. Millions of Ukrainians are living in damaged homes, or in buildings that are not able to provide sufficient protection from harsh winter conditions. As the temperature in winter usually drops to –20 degrees Celsius, the lack of sufficient protection will be felt by millions.

The government estimates that approximately 950,000 IDPs are currently living in 5,670 collective centres and a significant number of the collective centres will require some form of repair in order to ensure that they are winter-ready. Additionally, the war has caused significant damage to public utilities and infrastructure in many areas, leaving over 650,000 people across Ukraine without access to electricity and gas.

15.7 million people in need of aid

Overall, the humanitarian situation in Ukraine remains extremely dire with 15.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance, according to UN OCHA’s Situation Report. As active fighting and hostilities continue, the needs are expected to increase, especially when the temperatures start to decrease.

12,200 civilian casualties

The UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) has confirmed that, as of July 24th, there have been 12,272 civilian casualties since the 24th of February (these include 5,237 people killed and 7,053 injured). More than half of the casualties were recorded in the eastern Donetska and Luhanska oblasts. According to UN, the real figures are considerably higher.

13 million people in need of water

Some 13 million people in Ukraine are in need of water, sanitation, and hygiene assistance. These include internally displaced people in collective centres and host communities, people affected by damages to infrastructure systems, and limitations in water treatment consumables. About 10.2 million people across Ukraine urgently need food and livelihood assistance.

Some 11.2 million people are in need of shelter assistance and support with non-food items (NFI). In addition, 1.7 million people are in need of assistance ahead of winter, which covers mainly reparations of shelter and NFI distribution-related activities.

369 attacks on health-care facilities

As of July 10th, the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed that there have been 369 attacks on healthcare facilities, medical transport, warehouses, supplies, medical personnel, and patients since February 24th, resulting in 79 deaths and 64 injuries. WHO also specified that 314 healthcare facilities, 31 staff, and 14 patients have been directly affected by such attacks. Some 12.1 million people in Ukraine are estimated to be in need of health assistance.

5.7 million school-aged children affected by the war

5.7 million school-aged children have been negatively impacted in some way since the start of the war, including 3.6 million due to the closure of educational institutions. The ability to learn has been severely affected by the acute and ongoing exposure to conflict-related trauma and psychological stress leading to a higher dropout rate and the development of negative coping mechanisms.

The Ministry of Education and Science (MESU) of Ukraine reported that over 2,200 education facilities have been damaged and 220 destroyed across Ukraine.

Autor: Petr Stefan, People in Need

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