The chaos of war
24 February 2022 marked a devastating day for the people of Ukraine -- and the world.
Despite the chaos of war, the country's State Emergency Service immediately sprang into action, with over 70,000 personnel helping to rescue people from under rubble and from fires caused by daily shelling and evacuating people to safer locations.
UNDP has partnered with the State Emergency Service since 2016, and support quickly transitioned to help meet emergency needs -- by contributing protection and firefighting equipment, generators for emergency power, food supplies and specialized tools for removing debris.
The UN rapidly scales up
As the conflict escalated, triggering an immediate and steep rise in humanitarian needs, on 1 March 2022, the UN and humanitarian partners launched coordinated Flash Appeals for a combined US$1.7 billion to urgently deliver humanitarian support to people in Ukraine and refugees in neighbouring countries.
UNDP joined the UN system to support immediate efforts to protect and assist those most affected in the country, as well as refugees from Ukraine. Teams mobilized to provide emergency healthcare services, food, hygiene products, psychosocial counselling, cross-border transportation and temporary accommodation and shelter to those fleeing the country.
To date the UN, along with partners, have reached more than 7.6 million people across Ukraine with life-saving assistance.
Protecting human rights
"People's lives, their dignity and human rights must be protected, and international human rights law and international humanitarian law must be respected."
For three decades in Ukraine, UNDP has worked with local communities, helping them to exercise their rights, including in conflict-affected areas.
Millions forced to flee
The war has caused the fastest forced population movement since the Second World War. Nearly one third of the population of Ukraine -- close to 14 million people -- have now fled their homes. Of this total, over 6.5 million Ukrainians have crossed the borders and are living as refugees abroad, while over 8 million are internally displaced within the country.
This means millions of people -- men and women, children, the elderly, people with disabilities -- all leaving the communities they considered home to travel to the unknown across the country in search of safety and security for their families.
Reaching people on the move
UNDP has a long-standing partnership with the Government to support the digitization of essential services, and this work has been rapidly expanded to help reach people affected by the war. Not long after the war began, the Government of Ukraine used a mobile application to reach out to Ukrainians who were displaced from their homes. In its first few weeks of operation, nearly half a million people self-registered as internally displaced and accessed the online services to receive cash transfers and other forms of assistance.
Damage and devastation
According to government estimates, at least $100 billion worth of infrastructure, buildings, roads, bridges, hospitals, schools, and other physical assets have been destroyed. It is also estimated that nearly 5 million jobs have been lost since the start of the war.
A looming development catastrophe
Early projections released by UNDP show that in the event of a continuing, protracted war in Ukraine, 18 years of socio-economic achievements could be lost, with almost one third of the population living below the poverty line and a further 62 percent at high risk of falling into poverty within the next 12 months.
Early focus on rebuilding and recovery
Even as the war continues, UNDP is working with the Government to put in place the foundations for recovery and reconstruction. UNDP is providing technical support to the new Government Recovery and Development Plan, developed by the Office of the President, Parliament and other government bodies. Support is also being provided in the assessment of war induced damages and coordination of reconstruction and recovery efforts. The focus is on laying the groundwork for Ukraine's social and economic recovery, alongside the humanitarian response, so that the country's hard-won development gains can be preserved.
The threat of landmines and debris
Landmines, debris and explosive ordnance put Ukrainian lives in danger and hamper the emergency response. UNDP leads the coordination of the UN's work on mine action in Ukraine, and our experts are urgently working with national and local authorities to map, assess and help Ukraine remove explosive ordnance and debris containing hazardous materials. This vital work has started and will continue to scale up into new areas, as security allows.
The global impact
The war in Ukraine, in all its dimensions, is producing alarming cascading effects to a world economy already battered by COVID-19 and climate change, with particularly dramatic impacts on developing countries.
According to a recent UNDP report, some of the direct impacts of the crisis in Africa include trade disruption, food and fuel price spikes, macroeconomic instability, and security challenges. African countries are particularly affected due to their heavy reliance on imports from Russia and Ukraine.
The road to recovery
As we reach the grim milestone of 100 days of war, the people of Ukraine are enduring unimaginable suffering. This crisis will also deepen existing vulnerabilities and inequalities across the region and beyond.
UNDP has worked with local communities in Ukraine for decades, and we are now focused on scaling up support in demining, recovery of critical infrastructure and livelihoods.
Most importantly, we continue to work closely with the Government, to help preserve development gains and achieve a green and inclusive recovery in Ukraine.