6.5 million people are displaced inside Ukraine. People in Need continues to equip collective centres in the west of the country

Published: Mar 25, 2022 Reading time: 6 minutes
Distribuce pomoci ve městě Sumy
© Člověk v tísni

Ten million Ukrainians have fled their homes due to the Russian invasion. 3.6 million people have fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries, according to the UNHCR. An additional 6.5 million people remain displaced within Ukraine. People in Need has delivered hundreds of sets of bedding and cooking equipment to collective centres in western Ukraine. We continue to deliver water, food, and hygiene items to tens of thousands of people in eastern Ukraine.

According to a recent survey by the IOM, 1.9 million internally displaced people (IDP), within Ukraine, are from Kyiv—this is nearly 30% of the total IDP population. A further 2.3 million people, nearly 36% of the IDP population, are from the east of the country. Almost 40% of IDPs, altogether 2.5 million people, fled to western Ukraine.

Svitlana and Liuda fled from Kharkiv to Truskavets in western Ukraine. Svitlana describes the long road to safety: "We drove for five difficult days. People were providing us with accommodation on the way. All were supportive. Near Ternopil and in Uman, we spent the night. We stopped in kindergartens and schools. We were provided with medicines, some food, including for children, clothes. And when we came here - we felt at home,"

Dasha fled from Kharkiv to Lviv. "We arrived here escaping the shelling on the 5th of March. I realised that I was with my child, a grandmother and a dog in this basement. Then I checked the weather forecast, and I saw that frosts were approaching. In the basement, we would either get sick, and this would not be good, or we simply would be overwhelmed. It was not safe to remain there," says Dasha. "A man helped us get to the subway. There was a metro station not far from us. It takes 15 minutes to walk to get there. We walked through the snow and under fire," she describes how her family hid in the metro station. And how they finally fled to Lviv by train.

With the influx of hundreds of thousands of displaced people in western Ukraine, it is almost impossible to find accommodation. Petr Drbohlav, Regional Director for the Eastern Partnership and the Balkans, notes that "For tens of thousands of people the only solution is to find a place to sleep in a collective centre, typically old sanatoriums, schools or old colleges.” Some people stay at the collective centres for just 2 or 3 days before continuing on to neighbouring countries. However, many stay, and are waiting to go home when the security situation allows it.

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We face a problem with many of these centres as often they have been neglected for several years, and are not adequately equipped to accommodate hundreds of people. "Local people are doing their best to bring enough mattresses, bedsheets, food or hygiene items, but with hundreds of new arrivals every week, the situation is many times beyond their capacities. The majority of the items like mattresses or bed sheets are simply impossible to purchase," says Petr Drbohlav.

The People in Need team in western Ukraine identified tens of such locations, and we have begun delivering essential equipment this week. For example, 200 mattresses, bedsheets, duvets, pillows and towels, along with 50 kitchen sets and 100 electric kettles, were delivered to a collective centre in Truskavets in Lviv oblast. Another 500 mattresses, blankets, bedsheets, towels and pillows and 50 kitchen sets, and kettles were delivered to the collective centre in Morshyn. In the coming days, People in Need will distribute equipment to 5 more collective centres. Altogether thousands of vulnerable people will benefit.

"Representatives of the humanitarian organisation of the Czech Republic arrived. They wanted to assess exactly what we need. They offered to establish better conditions because everything here - mattresses, pillows, blankets - were provided by kind local people, from the city," says Natalia Ponomarenko, head of the humanitarian hub in Truskavets City Council. "Now, after a week has passed, the first truck arrived and brought us everything new, everything clean," she says in front of the former dairy, which has been transformed into one of 8 shelters in the city.

Food, water, and hygiene items for people in eastern Ukraine

People in Need continues to deliver much-needed aid to the most afflicted locations in eastern Ukraine. Two trucks with food and hygiene items arrived in Sumy on Friday last week. Forty tonnes of relief aid will be distributed among two thousand people in the besieged city.

In the past week alone, we distributed food kits, emergency shelter kits, and hygiene items in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Additionally, two wagons of aid reached Kharkiv, another two delivered much-needed aid to Luhansk oblast. A further three wagons of aid were delivered to Donetsk Oblast Administration for distribution.

Three trucks with aid arrived in Zaporizhzhia. This aid will be distributed to people fleeing from Mariupol. Altogether 50 tonnes of food and hygiene have reached settlements in Donetsk oblast, where fighting is ongoing. Another two trucks of food and hygiene products will be distributed through Ukrainian Red Cross in Kherson oblast. Smaller deliveries are being made by local volunteers, supported by People in Need. A total of 10 tonnes of aid was distributed to Donetsk oblast and Dnipro. “We are ready to distribute essential relief items in Mariupol once it is possible. Food and hygiene kits together with bottled water will be most needed in the city where 100,000 people have been trapped for weeks,” says Petr Drbohlav.

Water is still among the biggest challenges. Water pipes are being destroyed by ongoing fighting, and whole villages in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts are without sources of drinking water. “We continue to deliver water by trucks, and several settlements received water tanks to store drinking water. Thousands of pieces of bottled water were distributed to people displaced by fighting in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts,” says Petr Drbohlav.

People in Need has been providing humanitarian aid in eastern Ukraine since 2014. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we have helped those who need it in the most affected areas. The People in Need team in Ukraine currently consists of 110 people, with half of the team in eastern Ukraine and the remainder in the west.

People in Need’s assistance to people in Ukraine is possible thanks to donations from the public and private sector to PIN Ukraine Emergency Appeal, financial contributions from Alliance2015, CARE, Stichting Vluchteling, Porticus, King Baudouin Foundation and partnership with European Union, Ukraine Humanitarian Fund, USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic or World Food Programme.


Author: Člověk v tísni

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