Winter in Ukraine as a test of resilience

Published: Feb 27, 2024 Reading time: 3 minutes
Winter in Ukraine as a test of resilience
© Photo: People in Need

Heating a 100-150 square metre house in Ukraine in winter can cost between 10 and 60 thousand hryvnias ($250-$1500). This is a cost that, in the context of the war, many people simply cannot afford. To keep their homes warm, families have to save a lot of money in advance, choose alternative fuels, or change the heating system. We have been supporting the most vulnerable Ukrainians for the 9th consecutive winter.

Supporting vulnerable communities

Winter is harsh in Ukraine. Heating homes is difficult, especially for residents of border and frontline communities. That is why we have focused on helping the most vulnerable towns and villages with heating support. This winter, we supported residents of Donetsk, Mykolaiv, Sumy, Kharkiv, Kherson and Chernihiv Oblasts with deliveries of briquettes that will help them ward off the harsh winter cold.

Helping Vera from Donetsk Oblast

The unloading of briquettes for the residents of Vozdvyzhenka village was accompanied by artillery fire. The Russian army attacks the communities in the Pokrovsk district almost every day.

Residents have long assessed the level of danger by the sound. If the explosions are far away, they should not stop working. That is why the distribution of briquettes continued that day.

Vira Lutsenko is among the residents waiting for the briquettes, and, in an example of the locals' can do' spirit, they are unloading the briquettes themselves. Together with her husband, Vira received 2.5 tonnes of briquettes whose purchase was supported by the European Union. The woman says that this should be enough for this winter, as their house is small and insulated.

Support from a caring grandfather

Anatolii is raising two grandchildren on his own: 11-year-old Nastia and 13-year-old Vanya. The children's parents and his wife died, so Anatolii cares for the children. The family lives in the small village of Novovorontsovka near the Kakhovka Reservoir. When the Russian army provoked an environmental disaster there—by demolishing the dam—the family evacuated to the Kyiv Oblast. However, Anatolii's pension was not enough to rent a house and provide for his grandchildren, so they returned home. We managed to make their life a little easier. Anatolii received fuel briquettes, as did a thousand of the most vulnerable families in the Novovorontsovka community.

The story Anatolii, Nastia, and Vanya has had a profound impact on our subscribers. We published their story on our Facebook, and shortly thereafter, hundreds of people wrote saying that they wanted to help this family. Over the next two weeks, Anatolii, Vanya and Nastya received parcels and words of support from all over Ukraine.

Challenges and difficulties

Sometimes, delivering fuel briquettes, stoves, and other aid is a risky task for our team. Every day, 16 twenty-tonne trucks perform this task. If we are supporting a frontline community, we have to wait until the threat of shelling passes. After all, large vehicles are potential targets for Russian troops. Performing an important task, drivers cover thousands of kilometres of broken roads and sometimes even get stuck in the mud. They know that this help can save lives in the Ukrainian winter.

How many families we have supported to keep warm this winter

As of 31 January 2024, People in Need has helped 3,203 families with limited access to resources. We keep on working, and by the end of February, the number of supported families will increase to 4,575 households. Our reliable partners in this work are the European Commission on Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid (ECHO) and the Humanitarian Fund for Ukraine (UHF). Thanks to funding from the USAID Bureau of Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) under the DOVIDRA project, we will deliver briquettes and stoves to 750 more families in the most affected areas.

Ukrainians need support now more than ever before. You can also contribute to keeping warm the homes of war-affected people through our donation programme.

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Autor: People in Need

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