Given the protracted nature of the crisis, the need for humanitarian assistance remains high, especially close to the contact line and in non-government controlled areas (NGCA). Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and returnee hosting communities, in particular, require assistance and support in the development of long-term sustainable solutions for integration, recovery and peacebuilding. In cooperation with humanitarian actors and other relevant stakeholders, IOM will jointly identify and implement actions in support of durable solutions to end displacement and its consequences. This will contribute toward set objectives in the Humanitarian Response Plan for 2020, as well as national and local strategies.
IOM will target low-income households that meet at least one of the following vulnerability criteria: people living with disabilities, including disabled children; elderly persons (70+); households with children (3+); households with family members unable to work due to age, disabilities or other causes preventing them from contributing to the household income; single-headed households; families whose house was destroyed during the conflict; and households members who have experienced physical violence, exploitation abuse, including suspected/confirmed cases of human trafficking.
Based on Shelter Cluster estimations, 55,000 homes incurred various forms of damage on both sides of the contact line during five years of the conflict. The extent of damage in NGCA remains unknown due to restricted humanitarian access that prevents the systematic verification of the degree and number of damaged houses. Based on the Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM) report from September 2019, 39% of the respondents identified home insulation as one of the main winterisation needs. Specifically, the need for insulation of walls (40%), replacement of windows (35%) and roof repair (25%) was highlighted. In addition to individual households, many social institutions in NGCA are unable to function due to the damage to the facilities and lack of essential equipment required to provide the necessary services. With limited operational capacity, institutions are severely reduced in their ability to provide essential care to the most vulnerable.
In line with the latest data published in IOM’s National Monitoring System Report (NMS) from June 2019 on Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs), the elderly, persons with disabilities and single-headed households (in most cases female-headed) remain particularly vulnerable. In regards to the elderly, women are disproportionately affected, as figures show the share of women residing in NGCA was 58%, among which 53% were aged over 60. Pensioners are particularly at risk, specifically during winter, as their low pensions and limited savings are insufficient to purchase their winter heating needs.
To contribute to the efforts in addressing immediate humanitarian needs of vulnerable IDPs, returnees and conflict-affected populations, IOM will facilitate access to essential winterisation NFIs, in accordance to Shelter Cluster recommendations, covering the areas of Donetsk and Luhansk (NGCA). IOM will also contribute to creating mid- and long-term conditions for the returnees, the IDPs and the host community living in the vicinity of the contact line through rehabilitation works of key social institutions. Specific locations for NFI distribution, rehabilitation works of the key social institutions and medium and heavy rehabilitations will be selected based on IOM assessments conducted in coordination with relevant authorities, humanitarian actors and implementing partners. As a result of a comprehensive set of activities aimed at responding to the needs of the conflict-affected population, the basic needs of 37,900 vulnerable individuals will be addressed.
To identify and address protection threats and concerns within its activities, IOM will follow guidelines provided by the Shelter/NFI Cluster that are listed in the Checklist for Protection Mainstreaming in Emergency Shelter and NFI Programmes/Activities. To preserve the safety and dignity of the project beneficiaries, IOM applies a door-to-door distribution modality of the NFIs. This modality has proved appropriate as the categories covered by coal distribution include people affected by physical or mental disabilities who face challenges in arranging transportation of the coal, electric heaters and winterisation kits.
In line with IOM's Institutional Framework for Addressing Gender-based Violence (GBV) in Crises (GBViC Framework), IOM is committed to ensuring that gender-specific needs and risks are identified and addressed throughout all activities, prioritizing the most vulnerable groups. IOM is also committed to enforcing essential actions to mitigate the risk of GBV, and further, that the principles of do no harm, safety and non-discrimination guide any activity to be implemented. IOM will design and implement its project activities in line with the Manual on Community-Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies and Displacement (https://www.iom.int/mhpsed).
Humanitarian needs assessments consistently identify WASH as a gap both at a household and institutional level. Specifically, IOM data reported that over half of social institutions located in NGCA (54%) have no money to buy hygiene items, while 23% of institutions assessed indicated that they ‘had limited access and limited or no money at all to buy sanitation and hygiene consumables’. The complex economic situation in Ukraine, years of ongoing conflict and the continued embargo has substantially affected the markets and subsequent availability of goods in NGCA. This particularly affects products that are not considered as essential, as they impact a less visible portion of society, such as with the availability of adult diapers. Given the lack of funding and limited availability in NGCA, 100% of surveyed institutions expressed the need for support in the form of diapers for adults in the future.
IOM will support WASH and infrastructure rehabilitation in social institutions and key community sites located in Donetsk and Luhansk NGCA. Further rehabilitation to be undertaken will increase capacities of social institutions where the most vulnerable reside – including geriatric centres, hospitals and clinics, and centres for persons with disabilities – and allow the resumption of basic service provision in selected communities. Assessment visits to social institutions, aimed in gauging WASH rehabilitation needs, will be conducted by IOM to assess the condition of water supply systems, wastewater disposals, heating and sewage systems, as well as water towers, pumping and boiler rooms.
In addition, IOM aims to provide diapers (for both for children and people with disabilities) and tailored hygiene kits for specific target groups (standardized kits, for households and social institutions). Hygiene kits will be procured, stockpiled and distributed to vulnerable households and social institutions. Separate stock will be kept in the event of localised conflict escalation resulting in acute needs. The contents of the hygiene kits will be coordinated with the WASH Cluster and based on IOM's experience carrying out similar programming in the NGCA. The kits will be comprised of the following items: toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, washing powder, bleach, dishwasher liquid, sanitary pads, toilet paper and wet wipes, among others. The kits distributed will also include information, education and communication (IEC) materials on key hygiene messages as coordinated with the WASH Cluster.
As a result of 12 months of implementation of the mentioned above activities, 40,950 women, men, boys and girls will be able to meet their hygiene needs.
Capitalizing on IOM’s extensive experience implementing cash-based interventions and strong partnership with Ukrpost, multi-purpose cash transfers will provide beneficiaries with the flexibility to prioritize their most pressing and urgent needs. According to IOM’s Post Distribution Monitoring (PDM) reports from June 2018, 100 per cent of the cash assistance provided to vulnerable conflict-affected populations was utilized to cover the most critical household needs. When asked how households spent the assistance, the majority reported that they have spent it on savings (27%), healthcare (15%), food (15%) and winterisation needs (11%). To the extent possible, and in coordination with other humanitarian actors active in the area as well as with relevant local counterparts, locations will be selected prioritising areas that are hosting the most vulnerable IDPs and conflict-affected populations.
Many communities located along the contact line are suffering from discontinued transportation services from the villages to the main towns, and therefore IDPs, returnees and conflict-affected populations face difficulties with access to basic services such as markets and goods, proper healthcare and other administrative services. Moreover, during winter, most of the communities in the eastern conflict area suffer access constraints because of the heavy snow and lack of services available to clean the roads. This situation affects the capacity of the community members to move within the same locations, to access services and to continue economic activities, which tend to stagnate during the winter.
In line with recommendations of the Cash Working Group, IOM, as one of the largest cash assistance providers in Ukraine, will support the most vulnerable categories of IDPs with multi-purpose cash transfers to cover their basic needs, maintain their standards of living in displacement areas, and improve access to public services and adequate shelter in Luhansk and Donetsk GCAs.The overall number of vulnerable conflict-affected individuals residing in areas within 20km of the contact line of Donetsk and Luhansk GCA to be assisted with the multi-purpose cash assistance is 3,150.
IDPs and conflict-affected populations, especially women and children, remain particularly vulnerable to the risks of human trafficking. However, the problem remains largely invisible and under-addressed due to limited resources to assess the situation, identify, refer and assist victims. With migration traditionally becoming a coping mechanism for Ukrainians, conflict and economic crisis has prompted additional risks and rendered the population more susceptible to unsafe (irregular) migration and trafficking.
IOM Ukraine’s caseload also shows that out of all trafficking survivors assisted in 2017, 90% were trafficked and exploited during the period of the conflict and respective crisis. The NMS survey published in August 2018 (Round 10) indicates that 8% of IDP household reported encountering at least one situation involving deceit by their employer or forced labour since the beginning of the conflict. Throughout the period from 2017 until July 2019 IOM identified and assisted more than 100 IDPs and other conflict-affected people who fell victims to human trafficking.
IDPs and conflict-affected population facing legal, security and financial problems are at a high risk of human trafficking, both abroad and in the country, for forced labour and sexual exploitation due to their vulnerable situation. Situation monitoring and counterparts working in eastern Ukraine indicate increased prevalence of labour exploitation, sexual abuse, survival sex and sexual violence, including among the children, in the regions close to the contact line. However, these cases are under-identified and not always referred for assistance, thus increasing protection gaps in the overall humanitarian response to the crisis. The aggravated situation calls for increased and proactive prevention measures to inform IDPs and conflict-affected population about human trafficking risks, as well as to strengthen identification efforts, streamlining countertrafficking actions across the humanitarian assistance and thus ensuring protection and assistance for trafficking survivors.
In order to mitigate growing risks of human trafficking, IOM aims to enhance identification and referral of victims of trafficking among the conflict-affected populations, with particular attention to those living in proximity to the contact line, and to ensure victims´ access to comprehensive rehabilitation and reintegration assistance tailored to their individual needs. IOM will leverage protection partner networks and capacities of the state-led National Referral Mechanism in the conflict area to offer assistance in a safe and confidential manner. Concurrently, IOM will carry out preventive measures raising awareness about the risks of trafficking and exploitation and providing contacts of the currently operating helplines available to vulnerable populations. IOM’s activities will also include legal aid, medical care, mental health and psychosocial support, financial support, vocational training, and other types of assistance to victims of trafficking. A total of 312,000 individuals are to be reached through an awareness-raising campaign.
Address the drivers and longer term impacts of crises and displacement through investments in recovery and crisis prevention
Internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host community members, as well as veterans of the conflict in the east.
According to the latest National Monitoring System Survey (2019), IOM observed that most displaced people have been staying at their current place of residence for more than three years. Since 2014, the majority of IDPs have chosen to stay within Luhansk and Donetsk GCAs. Some of the remaining challenges for improving living conditions of IDPs are access to housing, access to social services, employment, and integration in host communities. In line with the NMS report from June 2019, the main conditions for successful integration indicated by IDPs were housing (88%), regular income (75%) and employment (51%), which remained consistent throughout all NMS rounds.
Internally displaced persons face various unremitting difficulties as a consequence of displacement. Despite their intentions to stay in their new displacement locations, one of their main challenges is access to housing solutions, especially affordable options, and to similar opportunities enjoyed by host community members. IOM finds that 86% of IDPs in Ukraine do not have their own accommodation, and the majority of them (62%) are living in rented houses, apartments and rooms, and are usually charged more than local populations. This fact is related to the largely obsolete housing infrastructure which has ceased to reflect demographic needs. Rented housing is often too expensive and does not meet basic living conditions - two main reasons for IDPs to explore other available options.
Ukraine is a prime example of a country facing nexus challenges, where the issues of compensation for property damaged and property destroyed during the course of the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine are getting more and more pressing. A draft Governmental Regulations on the matter of property compensation is being considered, with the Compensation Legal Task Force (operating under the Protection and Shelter clusters) providing an active advisory role.
In response, IOM will continue to contribute to the Government of Ukraine’s efforts to improve living conditions for IDPs and returnees and facilitate their integration and reintegration in their communities. In particular, IOM aims to improve housing conditions for 900 IDPs and members of conflict-affected communities in eastern Ukraine.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine continues to severely disrupt community relations and social bonds. Trust and tolerance within conflict-affected communities remain low, increasing the potential for community tensions to escalate into conflict. Moreover, the lack of services provided to support psychological wellbeing reduces individuals’ abilities to cope and recover from the tragic events experienced. The “Scoping study: conflict in Ukraine – coordinating peacebuilding, recovery and development: response efforts” (World Bank, 2018), found that mental health and psychosocial support (MHPSS) is one of the key gaps in programming in eastern Ukraine.
Based on the August 2019 Multi-Sectoral Needs Assessment conducted by REACH Initiative, around 27% of the respondents living within 20 km from the line of contact (LoC), and 13% of those living within 0-5 km, mentioned MHPSS as one of their needs. Around 75% of the respondents were female, and half of them were 50 years or older. Approximately half of the respondents, who specified a need for MHPSS, mentioned shelling, landmines/explosive remnants of war (ERW) contamination as major security concerns. Based on the above assessment, the lack of psychosocial support (PSS) was also reported by some of the schools in locations within 0-20km of the LoC. MHPSS Working Group meetings held in June 2019 in Severodonetsk and Kramatorsk highlighted the need for long-term, planned individual psychological support for children, as there has been no decrease in the number of children affected by psychological violence (around 2,000 children receive the status of being affected by psychological violence every month in Luhansk region alone). The working group also stressed the insufficiency of human resources to tackle the issue. At the same time, the meeting records also indicate that parents of the affected children require the support of a psychologist. Moreover, people who were deprived of their liberty due to the military conflict and relatives of people missing due to the conflict also require continued MHPSS.
In response, IOM aims to contribute to the revitalization of conflict-affected communities through integrated MHPSS support for IDPs, returnees and other community members and community-driven social cohesion activities to promote integration and further reconciliation, with particular attention to the needs of the most vulnerable groups. In accordance with the IOM Manual on Community-Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies and Displacement, IOM plans to conduct an MHPSS assessment, provide direct intervention by MHPSS teams and centres and various capacity building activities. IOM has the technical capacity to provide trainings in MHPSS, community dialogue and social cohesion, and will train its own staff as well as relevant implementing partners.
In addition, the Health Cluster Ukraine Bulletin for January-February 2019 highlighted the insufficient number of mental health specialists and health care workers available along the 20 km of the LoC and the urgent need to train health care workers and mental health specialists in managing acute distress in populations affected by the conflict. IOM plans to conduct advanced training and refresher trainings for identified local MHPSS specialists and implement focused support activities and referrals in cooperation with international experts. In cooperation with the local authorities, IOM will create MHPSS centres in the conflict-affected areas where these centres are not currently available. The above activities will target around 41,240 individuals.
The presence of Ukrainian armed forces and armed groups in populated areas increases the risk of sexual violence against civilians. The deterioration of the economic situation, particularly in conflict-affected regions, combined with the destruction of community ties caused by the conflict and displacement, have compelled some people to use harmful survival strategies and coping mechanisms that may increase the risk of sexual violence and trafficking. National legislation and legal practice regarding the prosecution of sexual violence is limited and is not fully in line with international standards and practice. Due to a number of gaps in legislation and a lack of capacity, acts of sexual violence are often recorded by law enforcement as other crimes such as bodily injury. Lawyers, police officers, prosecutors and judges lack knowledge of how to document, investigate and consider cases of conflict-related sexual violence, as well as with regards to allegations of ill-treatment and torture. Consequently, victims of sexual violence are often confronted with inaction from state authorities or armed groups who exercise control over certain areas.
According to the analytical report ‘Gender-based violence in the conflict-affected regions of Ukraine’ by the Ukrainian Center for Social Reforms published in 2018, there is no common practice to seek assistance from specialised institutions in cases of violence. Amongst the main causes for not applying for assistance are unawareness of the availability of the services, absence of proper institutions in communities and mistrust in service personnel.
According to the data within the ‘Emergency protection-based support to conflict-affected older women and men in the GCAs locations of Donetsk and Luhansk Oblasts’ presented by HelpAge on 19 of September 2018, 20.5% of older people aged over 60 were subjected to at least one type of violence and abuse. Of them, 96.9% reported emotional and psychological abuse, 0.9% reported gender-based violence, 0.4% physical violence and 0.2% reported sexual type of violence. Among the elderly who subjected to at least one type of violence, the share of women was 75.9%.
IOM will contribute towards national efforts to prevent and respond to gender-based violence through trainings for local officials and community members, community led-initiative and information campaigns. As a result, 51,875 individuals will be better informed on gender-based violence (GBV) issues, including the importance of gender sensitivity in family and community activities. Conflict-affected community members in Donbas will be better informed on GBV issues, including the importance of gender sensitivity in family and community activities, through activities conducted by community initiative groups under IOM supervision and guidance. Moreover, IOM will carry out an awareness-raising campaign to inform on the right to a life free of violence and about existing helplines and complaint procedures. IOM staff and employees of local NGOs and other stakeholders will be trained on MHPSS. Community members can be added to the trainings, since they have an essential function in granting and promoting the protection and general well-being. IOM recently published Manual on Community-Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies and Displacement that clearly identifies actions that should be taken by IOM staff to incorporate MHPSS into project development and project implementation.
The ongoing conflict in eastern Ukraine has become a big obstacle for local populations to access basic and emergency health care services, which has significantly increased morbidity and mortality figures in Ukraine. Non-communicable disease is top of the list of causes of mortality in the country, amounting to 86% of total deaths. Among them, cardiovascular disease is the topmost. In the conflict-affected area of Ukraine, more than 50% of people aged 50 and over are suffering from hypertension and almost 50,000 people are suffering from diabetes in NGCA. Both uncontrolled hypertension and diabetes are causing an increased number of heart damage cases. In line with IOM’s latest NMS report from June 2019, women represented 58% of surveyed household members among which 53% were aged over 60 years old. The surveyed returnee population was significantly older than the IDP population: 59.4 years compared to 37.5 years, based on combined data.
Persons living with a disability and elderly people, who make up the majority of the population within 5 to 15 km of the contact line, are also the most vulnerable as most of the health care facilities are unable to provide specialized health care services such as cardiac care. In addition, this population group is prone to suffer from non-communicable illnesses such as cardiac diseases and not able to travel to further locations where they can receive proper cardiac care. Therefore, it is necessary to increase the screening and emergency cardiac care capacity of existing health care facilities close to the contact line.
According to IOM’s NMS report from June 2019, one the most frequently mentioned purpose of visit to the GCA for returnees and other NGCA residents was to buy medicines (15%). According to the PDM report on rehabilitation works in the social institutions in the Donetsk region (NGCA), medical facilities reported to be in a need of medicines and medical equipment.
In line with the Right to Protection Report 'Crossing the Line of Contact', January – March 2019, access to health care at the five Exit-Entry Check Points (EECPs) is also very limited, which is disturbing as the majority of people crossing the ‘contact line’ are older persons. Only within the first four months of 2019, 25 persons died at the EECPs due to health complications. Medical assistance at the checkpoints is provided by humanitarian actors and is available during limited hours. According to the Heath Cluster Advocacy Paper on ‘Access to Health Care’, waiting time for the arrival of a public ambulance is up to 30 minutes.
Limited access to voluntary testing for HIV/AIDS and tuberculosis, and long-distance travel to receive the necessary care, further increase the vulnerability of individuals living in eastern Ukraine. The health care facilities in Donetsk and Luhansk regions face significant challenges including a lack of medical staff, ambulances, and (in the areas closer to the contact line) shortages of medications, electric outages without generator back-up and disruption to water supplies.
In line with recently published IOM Manual on Community-Based Mental Health and Psychosocial Support in Emergencies and Displacement, trainings on MHPSS will be conducted to the workers of healthcare facilities to identify needs and to ensure that targeted support is provided to the individuals having mental disorders. As prescribed in IOM Institutional Framework for Addressing GBV in Crises (GBViC Framework), IOM will ensure the provision of accurate services and/or referrals for survivors of GBV.
IOM aims to increase access to basic health care for IDPs and conflict-affected communities close to the contact line both GCA and NGCA through the provision of specialized medical equipment in primary health-care facilities and provision of cash assistance to reimburse transportation costs to address health-care needs. Planned activities intend to address the crucial needs of medical facilities both in urban and rural areas regarding essential equipment (such as cardiographs, microscopes, autoclaves, hot-air sterilizers, ultrasonography machines, haemodialysis systems, and so on), prioritizing facilities situated along the contact line, with high importance to the communities and located in remote rural areas with a significant number of population. As a result of the provision of essential medical equipment and cash assistance, 7,000 vulnerable individuals will be able to meet their healthcare needs. If needed, IOM has foreseen to have to conduct training for medical staff on how to use the provided medical equipment.
Despite the fact that economy in Ukraine is growing and industrial production has stabilised throughout the country, as a result of the conflict the economy in the Donbas region continues to deteriorate, resulting in limited investments in the region’s industries and few employment opportunities. As highlighted in the NMS report, 39% of returnees who assessed their financial situation indicated that they had 'enough funds for food only' and 45% reported having 'enough funds for basic needs', with 4% having to limit their expenses even for food. As mentioned in the Food Security and Livelihood Dashboard, January – March 2019, food access is heavily dependent on cash income. Food expenditure increased in Donetsk region (GCA) in 2019 and is equal to UAH 3,951 (app. USD 163), while in Luhansk region (GCA) it remains the same – UAH 2,567.
Based on IOM implementation experience and observations in the field, many vulnerable households would not need to rely on humanitarian assistance if given the support to start or resume a micro business for family subsistence or to allow to set aside sufficient money for hygiene products, medicines and other essential goods. Since 2018, IOM is providing livelihood support in Donetsk region (NGCA) as a pilot which resulted in 13 self-employment trainings and distribution of 173 in-kind grants. Considering the number of restrictions on the implementation of livelihood activities in NGCA and the revised procedure of obtaining permission to implement humanitarian activities, IOM will focus primarily on supporting vulnerable households to meet their basic needs and reduce overall dependency on aid through the provision of self-sustenance grants. In less restricted GCA territories, IOM’s full livelihoods support packages will be provided for identified communities.
Moreover, the unemployment rate in Eastern Ukraine has increased since the onset of hostilities and the continued flow of internally displaced persons (IDPs) created additional pressure on the labour market. In the Donetsk region (GCA), the unemployment rate at the beginning of the year 2019 reached 14.5%. Lack of vacancies in general and low pay for the available ones was mentioned among the problems faced by the IDPs who were actively seeking employment. In the beginning of the conflict, by order of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine, for the safety of staff and students, universities such as Donetsk National Technical University were transferred from the cities of Donetsk and Luhansk to various towns of Donetsk and Luhansk regions (GCA), where employment prospects for the graduates are very limited. According to the latest data published by the International Labour Organization, as of April 2017, the level of unemployment among youth in Ukraine is 21.6%. High numbers of unemployed young people further contribute to increasing instability in communities, as economically inactive youth is prone to vulnerability and marginalization.
Food scarcity pushes people into a more precarious survival mode, where they may be more susceptible to accepting exploitative or illegal work. Providing food and livelihood support starts to reduce people's vulnerability to exploitation and abuse, and falling victim to human trafficking.
IOM’s experience implementing various livelihood programmes highlights the need to provide targeted support for women to become fully engaged in economic activity. In the previous phases of IOM’s Department for International Development (DFID)-funded livelihood programme, the number of women applying for micro-enterprise and business scale-up grants was limited. In discussion with beneficiaries, lack of confidence and poor communication and representation skills prevent women from seeking to grow their existing businesses or apply for larger grants. Among IDPs actively looking for employment, 85% are women. The majority of IDPs who are actively looking for employment (64%) mentioned that lack of vacancies was one of the most common difficulties they faced with, especially in rural areas.
IOM aims to continue providing returnees (IDPs who returned and are currently living in the NGCA), IDPs and conflict-affected population with opportunities to initiate new or expand existing livelihood activities by linking technical training and business counselling support with grants for self-employment startups, micro-business initiatives, scaling-up of existing businesses and self-sustenance grants. To stimulate local businesses and strengthen the supply of vital goods and services in communities most affected by the crisis, IOM will improve living conditions of community members by creating employment and income generation opportunities through the provision of support to small and medium enterprises (SME). IOM will work in close coordination with the Government of Ukraine, more specifically, the Ministry of Social Policy and State Employment Services. Around 73,500 individuals will benefit from the provision of various individuals grants to boost the development of local business.
With the aim to mainstream MHPSS in the general humanitarian response, IOM will raise awareness among the colleagues working in livelihood support on the MHPSS aspects of their work. Moreover, implementing partners engaged in the activities will be trained in basic MHPSS considerations and referral mechanisms and identification of protection and MHPSS risks.
Since March 2016, IOM has been implementing a research project titled “The National Monitoring System on the Situation of Internally Displaced Persons” (NMS) on a regular basis. The NMS is based on IOM’s Displacement Tracking Matrix (DTM) approach. This complex research tool is aimed at tracking and monitoring population displacement.
The aim of the NMS is to collect and analyze information on socio-economic characteristics of IDPs and their households as well as the challenges they face. The NMS methodology ensures data collection in 24 regions of Ukraine and the city of Kyiv using a variety of methods and multiple sources, including sample surveys conducted via face-to-face and telephone interviews with IDPs and key informants (KI), interviews with people crossing the contact line, focus group discussions (FGD) with KI, IDPs, and returnees.
The NMS tools include indicators related to access and availability of services for women, girls and other at-risk groups which allows for a deeper analysis of the impact of displacement and specific challenges experienced by vulnerable groups within the displaced populations. The results of the NMS have shown that the main issues faced by IDPs are material wellbeing, housing, labour market integration and building of social interaction with members of the host communities they have been displaced to.
IOM will continue assessing the situation of IDP and returnee households through surveys in all regions of Ukraine, and specifically within eastern Ukraine and along the contact line. This will contribute to the coordination of the humanitarian and recovery efforts made by the state authorities and humanitarian actors and inform government actions on IDPs. Data protection principles and respect for confidentiality will continue to be ensured throughout all stages of the NMS, from data collection to the dissemination of the findings.
Employees working at the five entry-exit checkpoints (ECCPs) located along the Line of Contact (LoC) in Donetsk and Luhansk regions (GCA), namely EECP Maryinka, EECP Hnutove, EECP Stanytsia Luhanska, EECP Novotroitske and EECP Mayorske. Through the support provided to improve services at the EECPs one million individuals crossing the Line of Contact will indirectly benefit from these activities.
Throughout 2019, an average of 1.13 million persons crossed the contact line monthly. Civilians queuing at the entry-exit checkpoints are exposed to a wide range of serious protection, health and security concerns including mines, shelling, and exposure to extreme temperatures.
The five official crossing points are overloaded, compromising the safety of civilians and further worsening their living conditions as waiting periods at the checkpoints force people to stay in long queues, sometimes overnight, with insufficient or no sanitary facilities and health care available.
Conflict dynamics, weak rule of law and increased socio-economic vulnerabilities of people residing in conflict-affected areas present a favourable environment for impunity and conducive ground for criminal acts, increasing the potential for civilians to fall victim to various human rights violations, including human trafficking. Human rights organisations have documented several cases of violence, labour exploitation as well as exposure to protection concerns due to inadequate facilities at the checkpoints.
In response, IOM will continue contributing to the Government of Ukraine’s efforts to improve conditions for and the safety of civilians at the entry-exit checkpoints on the GCA side. IOM will support the State Border Guard Services (SBGS) to improve their operational capacity, through the provision of necessary equipment and enhanced knowledge on countering trafficking in human beings, anti-corruption, (humanitarian) border management and dialogue.
Figures are as of 31 December 2019. For more details of IOM's operational capacity in country, please see the IOM Capacity section.