IOM Survey Reveals Growing Humanitarian Needs in Ukraine’s Eastern Conflict Area

Posted: 
11/28/17
Themes: 
Humanitarian Emergencies, Internally Displaced Persons, Migration Research, Migration and Climate Change

Kyiv – As temperatures plummet across Europe, millions of people in eastern Ukraine are facing into a fourth winter of discontent. Many conflict-affected communities remain cut off from markets, social services, housing and jobs. Despite security concerns and harsh living conditions in the non-government-controlled area (NGCA), many people continue to return to their homes there.

New UN Migration Agency data shows a steady stream of displaced people coming back across the contact line between the Government and non-government-controlled areas, increasing local vulnerabilities. Three and a half years into the conflict, 16 per cent of respondents surveyed in September stated they returned to their original place of residence, a three per cent increase on the previous round.

Seventy per cent of surveyed returnees said they were going back to their homes, where they do not have to pay rent as they do elsewhere. Over half of the internally displaced persons (IDPs) returning are over the age of 60, and most are pensioners. This heightens their vulnerability as the pension is linked to their IDP status and residence in the government-controlled area.

As highlighted in previous IOM reports, paying rent and finding employment have been bars to IDP integration, prompting IDPs to return to their homes in the NGCA. Even though average monthly income has risen to UAH 2,340 (USD 87) per IDP household member, it is still well below the subsistence level at UAH 3,035 (USD 113) calculated by the Ministry of Social Policy.

Almost two thirds of returnees surveyed report that their income only covers their food needs. That figure is far lower (38 per cent) for IDPs in the GCA.

“Access to deliver humanitarian aid to the NGCA is unstable but it remains of paramount importance to ensure that support is provided to the most vulnerable individuals throughout eastern Ukraine,” said Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss, Chief of Mission at IOM Ukraine on a visit to the East last week.

“We have assisted nearly 200,000 IDPs and conflict-affected people since the start of the conflict in 2015. We intend to keep that up during the difficult winter months, especially to vulnerable populations near the contact line between the Government and non-government-controlled areas,” he added.  

IOM has been conducting surveys on the situation of IDPs in Ukraine on a regular basis since March 2016. In the latest round, conducted in September 2017, 1,025 IDPs were interviewed face-to-face and 4,204 IDPs registered by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine were interviewed by phone across the country.

The National Monitoring System (NMS), is conducted quarterly by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) with funding from the European Union.

IOM has been conducting surveys on the situation of IDPs in Ukraine on a regular basis since March 2016. In the latest round, conducted in September 2017, 1,025 IDPs were interviewed face-to-face and 4,204 IDPs registered by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine were interviewed by phone across the country.

The National Monitoring System (NMS), is conducted quarterly by the UN Migration Agency (IOM) with funding from the European Union.

For more information please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15, Email: vzhluktenko@iom.int

 

  •  People travelling from government controlled to non-government controlled area of eastern Ukraine are loading onto a bus at Mayorsk checkpoint. Photo: Varvara Zhluktenko / UN Migration Agency (IOM) (2017)