As temperatures across Ukraine have plummeted below zero and are expected to drop even more, the UN migration agency is stepping up efforts to help displaced and war-affected people cope with the cold weather.Humanitarian funding from the European Union (EU), is enabling the International Organization for Migration (IOM) to support over 700,000 Ukrainians with multi-sectoral assistance this winter, which is set to be “the most challenging season yet for the country”.
“Displaced and war-affected people will face new and growing challenges as the war drags on and winter grips Ukraine”, said Anh Nguyen, IOM’s mission chief in the country.
Ramping up assistance
IOM’s winterization support includes refurbishing collective centres hosting displaced people; improving water supply, wastewater and heating systems; repairing damaged homes; and distributing high-thermal blankets, bedding kits, mattresses, and hygiene items.
Moreover, solid fuel and cash assistance are also being provided to help people sustain themselves with flexible means throughout the bitter cold season.
IOM will also use EU funding to stock critical items, ensuring that war-affected people in Ukraine continue to be reached, and support its partners responding to the urgent needs on the ground.
“Our key priority is to support warm, safe, and dignified conditions to help people get through the next few months”, explained Mr. Nguyen.
Moving forward, mobile teams will conduct repairs in 375 collective sites and social institutions by improving insulation, fixing leaking roofs, replacing broken windows, and installing additional showers.
IOM will refurbish 5,800 private homes and distribute emergency shelter kits for people to make necessary improvements themselves.
The UN agency will also support municipalities in areas recently retaken by the Government of Ukraine with construction materials and generators.
“As attacks continue leaving millions without reliable access to electricity, heating, and water, our humanitarian partners like IOM continue working to meet the most pressing needs,” said Claudia Amaral, Head of EU Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine.
18 million in need
Around 18 million Ukrainians, or 40 per cent of the country’s population, require humanitarian assistance, according to UN Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) estimates.
And continuous attacks on Ukraine’s critical infrastructure have served to increase the war’s devastating impact for the most affected people.
IOM’s latest survey shows that despite multiple incursions on the country’s power supply and heating infrastructure, Ukrainians plan to spend the winter at their current locations.
Only seven per cent of nationwide respondents surveyed said they are actively considering leaving.
Meanwhile, private resources for survival are becoming scarce, as 43 per cent of all families in Ukraine have completely exhausted their savings.