ACT Alliance Alert: Support to cold snap affected people from East Ukraine (IDPs, refugees and non-displaced conflict population)
Geneva, 17 January 2017
1. Brief description of the emergency and impact
In January 2017 arctic cold, which brought a record breaking low temperature, paralyzed Russia, Ukraine and the whole Eastern Europe. The temperature in the region dropped to -30°C, resulting in transport collapse and damage to communal infrastructure, disruption of heat and electricity supply, frostbite of hundreds of people and a rapid growth of flu and other diseases rate in many places. Harsh weather has led to a drop of temperature in the places where Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and refugees found shelter and which were constructed not for low temperatures.
The frosts damaged heat systems and led to disruptions of heat supply. According to the meteorological forecast, Ukraine and Russia expect new bursts of cold weather in February, with temperatures that can plunge down to -20°C.
The cold snap, affecting IDPs, refugees and the local population alike, further exacerbates the negative impact and increases the level of vulnerability caused by the violent conflict. As a reminder, since April 2014 the conflict between militia armed groups in Donetsk and Lugansk regions of Ukraine as well as the forces and armed groups under the central government in Kiev resulted in a humanitarian crisis with over almost 2 Mio. people internally displace and almost 1 Mio. people becoming refugees in Russia.