Repairing 9,000 houses and water pipes: we are already helping prepare for winter in Ukraine

Published: Aug 11, 2022 Reading time: 10 minutes
Repairing 9,000 houses and water pipes: we are already helping prepare for winter in Ukraine
© Alyona Budagovska

Over the past month, we have managed to deliver food and drinking water to tens of thousands of people across Ukraine. In northern and central Ukraine, this has meant helping 30,000 people. We are working in almost all regions, including Kharkiv and Dnipropetrovsk, where we are preparing for a hard winter. Across Ukraine, we are preparing to repair 9,000 houses, nurseries, and other damaged buildings before the winter.

Since the invasion, we have assisted more than 330,000 people with aid worth a total of €29,451,632 , and we have more than 200 colleagues on the ground.

In the Czech Republic, we have supported some 17,000 Ukrainians displaced by the war so far. These are mainly women, children, and the elderly. We focus our efforts on the most vulnerable with health problems or other special needs. We are working in ten regions, helping at Prague's Main Railway Station, and dealing with dozens of requests for help daily at our Ukrainian helpline. We tutor children who have fled the war and we organise after-school activities for them—such as trips or camps.

Read the latest summary of our assistance in Ukraine and the Czech Republic. 






We are already preparing for winter and are still supplying drinking water to people living near the front line

19,088,108 WORTH OF AID

As the Russian war in Ukraine nears its six-month anniversary, our aid is constantly changing and adapting to the needs on the ground. Two hundred of our colleagues are working in Ukraine, where we have a presence in nearly every region. Currently, our primary focus is on distributing direct financial assistance to internal refugees and other people at risk. We continue to provide food aid, especially in the south, where people fleeing fighting in other areas of Ukraine have sought safety. We have started to provide ready meals in collective centres, and we continue to supply drinking water to people living near the front line. We are also preparing for the winter—we know from our experiences in other war-torn countries that it is vital to prepare for the winter months well in advance.

In the last month alone, we have delivered non-perishable food for 7,600 people and jerry cans of drinking water for 7,100 people to the Kharkiv region. Similarly, in the Dnipropetrovsk region, 6,000 people received help from us, and another 3,200 people were provided with hygiene supplies. We delivered 124 beds with mattresses and bedding to collective centres. However, we are not only focusing on eastern Ukraine; in Kyiv and the surrounding villages, we have delivered food for 11,000 people and to almost 30,000 people in the north.

"Over the last few weeks, we have stopped importing food into Ukraine and are buying it locally because the private sector has recovered from the initial shock," says Petr Drbohlav, our Regional Director for the Eastern Partnership and the Balkans. Since the beginning of the invasion, we have sent 50 trucks and 17 trains of humanitarian aid to Ukraine, bringing vital supplies to the victims of the war. 

In Ukraine, two million houses have been damaged or destroyed because of the Russian invasion. The coming winter poses a huge problem because people cannot survive in houses without windows or doors and with damaged roofs. Moreover, many Ukrainians live in cottages that are not built for winter living.

We aim to repair 9,000 houses before winter so they can be heated. Together with other NGOs and with the support of UN agencies, up to 100,000 homes could be repaired. We also repair abandoned public buildings for refugees from collective centres in the Transcarpathian region. Where central heating is damaged, we will provide fuel. In places with no gas or electricity, we will look for alternatives, for example, in the form of stoves. In areas where the Russian army has withdrawn, we are primarily restoring critical infrastructure so that people can return home.

We are also continuing to help collective centres for internal refugees. They have nowhere to return to, their homes are not safe, and they may have lost everything. Hundreds of thousands of people are still dependent on the help of collective centres and volunteers.

We supply many collective centres with equipment or durable food supplies. In some places, the authorities are trying to free up schools and kindergartens that have become shelters for the neediest so that these can be reopened for children in September. As a result, centres are being merged, and local volunteers are running out of personnel and resources, so we will continue to supply food and hygiene items to these centres. In total, we have already supported 309 centres in eleven regions.

We are providing psychosocial assistance via phone or in person


At the same time, we provide psychosocial assistance, which is needed all the time and everywhere. However, we are faced with the fact that there are not enough psychologists and psychiatrists in Ukraine who can work with the traumas caused by the war. We run a telephone helpline in Ukrainian where people can call and confide their problems to a psychologist. Psychologists at the helpline receive up to fifty calls a day. The number of calls has increased by more than 73%.

"Psychologists at the helpline receive up to fifty calls a day. The number of calls has increased by more than 73%."

In addition to the phone helpline, we offer help in the form of mobile teams. One such team is led by Olena Kravtsova, our coordinator of psychosocial activities in Ukraine. Her team of fourteen psychologists provides psychological support in four regions of the country, and ten psychologists assist on a national helpline. "Psychologists at the helpline receive up to fifty calls a day. The number of calls has increased by more than 73%," she says, describing the situation after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Olena adds that people will still need psychological support for at least five years after the war.

The helpline works across Ukraine, whereas the mobile teams work in Lviv, Ternopil, Kirovograd and Dnipro. In addition, we provide support through our partners in three other areas.

We are helping financially. Everyone buys what they need

6,736,496 WORTH OF AID

Where trade and markets work, we provide direct financial assistance. This means people can plan their shopping and buy precisely what they need; they are not dependent on the contents of standardised food parcels. In a situation where war has deprived people of almost everything, the opportunity to buy what a person needs is also an opportunity to make decisions about something in life. "The most vulnerable families receive the equivalent of CZK 1,700 in hryvnia every month for a quarter of a year so that they can buy according to their own needs and thus, among other things, help kick-start the local economy," adds Petr Štefan, our global head of communications. 

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3,080,714 WORTH OF AID

In the Czech Republic, we have helped tens of thousands of refugees through the SOS Ukraine collection in cooperation with partner organisations, and more are arriving daily. Our services alone have supported around 17,000 people, mostly women, children, and the elderly. We focus on those most at risk, who have, for example, health problems or other special needs.

Our field teams provide social work and counselling in 10 regions of the Czech Republic. We organise and coordinate help centres for refugees, monitor the situations in hostels, and address acute needs. We work to protect refugees from abuse in the housing and labour markets.

We have supported integration activities and assistance for Ukrainian families with young children

To date, we have partnered and collaborated with 110 aid organisations, mainly in regions where we do not operate. In cooperation with other organisations, we have used more than €2,259,190 to help refugees.

"We have newly established additional partnerships in Prague, Brno and some smaller cities. For example, we have supported integration activities and assistance to Ukrainian families with young children in several family centres in Olomouc and the provision of psychological assistance to refugees in Libčice in Central Bohemia. When needed, we provide the necessary material support," says Zuzana Ramajzlová, Head of the SOS Ukraine programme in the Czech Republic.

We have also started collaborating with the online Medical Advisory Service for Refugees, which has already helped to resolve almost 10,000 requests in four months.

We took over the provision of services at Prague's Main Railway Station and the monitoring of the situation at labour offices

We have also taken over the provision of the Hlavák Initiative's services at Prague's Main Railway Station with sixty volunteers organising assistance to arriving refugees.

In cooperation with other organisations, we are trying to help reduce the workload on labour offices where refugees must apply for humanitarian benefits. For example, in Prague's Holešovice, where the situation is the worst and Ukrainians have spent several days in endless queues, volunteers help with organisation. They also help with filling out applications. We are also preparing an information campaign on the rights and obligations of job seekers and on public health insurance.

"It is now very difficult to find suitable accommodation, as some locations are running out of capacity."

We are providing detailed information on humanitarian benefits on the helpline; we are looking for accommodation in a complicated situation.

Our Ukrainian helpline team is working to address the requests of dozens of callers every day

"We try to explain everything in detail, as the Czech and Ukrainian systems are very different. The most frequent questions are about the payment of humanitarian benefits, registration at the labour offices and information on public health insurance. It is now very difficult to find suitable accommodation as some localities are running out of accommodation capacity," says Alena Čorna, helpline advisor.

We are involved in working groups, and working towards systemic change

We continue to cooperate with the Consortium of NGOs working with migrants, and we regularly meet with the management of the National Assistance Centre for Ukrainians. We are involved in most working groups. We are also involved in crisis management, coordination of regional assistance centres, and now in addressing the issue of health insurance for refugees.

"Within the framework of the international NIEM (National Integration Evaluation Mechanism) project, we have participated in the creation of two reports "Integration of international protection holders in the Czech Republic" and "First-hand experience of integration: reception, adaptation and integration in the Czech Republic from the perspective of refugees", which evaluated the main challenges related to the integration of Ukrainian refugees into the Czech society," says Tomáš Habart, head of Varianty's educational services.

We are supporting education and organising leisure activities

We help with Czech language learning. We organise leisure activities, trips and suburban camps for Ukrainian and Czech children. We continue with adaptation groups. We are starting group tutoring in Olomouc and have new colleagues to support the education of Ukrainian children in Hranice na Moravě, Olomouc and Prague. From our computer collection, we have already issued more than 120 laptops, almost eighty desktop computers and over forty monitors, which will enable children to connect to Ukrainian distance learning or facilitate their preparation for Czech schools.

We continue to support Ukrainian and Czech teachers. We offer SOS Ukraine scholarships for young refugees 15+ in a difficult socio-economic situation who are at risk of dropping out of their education. The programme is open to Ukrainian students enrolled in Czech secondary schools or engaged in distance learning with Ukrainian secondary schools.

Another episode has been added to the Mall TV series Life in Czech, introducing our country to those who were not born here—this time on the topic of how children of foreigners manage to integrate into Czech schools. It conveys the experience that thousands of children from Ukraine are now going through. We are also preparing a final episode on how Czechs are helping, which will mainly touch on the wave of solidarity with Ukrainian refugees. 


468,268 WORTH OF AID

In Moldova, we continue to support families who have provided shelter for those fleeing war. To ensure inclusiveness and accessibility of the most vulnerable people, we set up fifteen central in-person registration points distributed amongst the fifteen raions. Through the project, we have already reached 2,057 host families and provided them with support and guidance.

At the same time, we are also helping to run a helpline here, providing psychosocial assistance in Ukrainian and Russian to those most in need, as well as information about their rights and access to social and health services in Moldova.  

Author: PIN

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