Desk Research of the Surveys of IDPs | UNHCR | December 2017

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Key findings

The number of IDPs

MoSP has the largest database of IDPs who apply for social benefits (1,487,455 persons as of 07.12.2017), but there are still IDPs who are not registered by MoSP: 5%-9%, according to different surveys. At the same time, the MoSP database may include IDPs who returned to occupied or returned territories after the registration, and IDPs who travel to GCA from NGCA regularly in order to receive social benefits. Specifically, according to the current legislation, NGCA pensioners cannot receive pensions without being registered as IDPs. With this regard, the following recommendation was formulated, according to the UNHCR participatory assessment results:

“Resume payment of pensions to residents of the non-government controlled territories through introduction of mechanism which would allow them receive their pensions at the controlled territory without the need to be registered as IDP by de-linking payment of pensions from IDP registration through amendments to Cabinet of Ministers Resolution #505 of 2014, Cabinet of Ministers Resolution #637 of 2014, Cabinet of Ministers Resolution #365 of 2016 and any other relevant normative acts.”

The only available estimation of the number of IDPs residing more permanently in GCA constitutes 760,000 and was calculated by UN OCHA in October 2017.

Key findings of the surveys of IDPs

The five surveys analyzed in this report were conducted in May, 2016 - June, 2017 by different methods and present different structure of IDPs in terms of age, gender and geographical distribution, but in spite of these limitations the data on conditions and intentions of IDPs has more similarities than differences.

Major problems of IDPs

Major problems of IDPs are caused by economic vulnerability: 24% of IDPs lack money even for food. Besides for economic problems common for all Ukrainian population, IDPs suffer from the necessity to pay rent for housing, high dependency ratio (the number of dependents aged 0-17 years and over 60 to the other population aged 18-59 makes up 79%-92%, according to different surveys, while for the general population of Ukraine it constitutes 67%), and employment constraints including discrimination. The primary sources of income of IDPs are salary (61%) and government IDP support (61%); the share of those who indicate salary as primary source of income is increasing. 22% of IDPs indicated that they had their social payments suspended. In most cases, IDPs faced suspension of government IDP support knew how to renew the payments, but perceived those procedures as humiliating.

Among gender and age categories of the most economically vulnerable IDPs, there are people aged 60+ (both men and women), women aged 18-59 and IDPs with children. In terms of regional distribution, IDPs who live in Donetsk and Luhansk are the most vulnerable, and this correlates with the highest share of pensioners and dependence on social assistance and humanitarian aid in these regions.

Different surveys identified similar three top concerns of IDPs:

  1. Housing (including payments for rent, utilities, unsatisfactory living conditions, fear of eviction etc.).
    Only 2% of IDPs live in own housing. FGD participants mentioned the cases of higher rent prices for IDPs than for the locals. Less than half of IDPs feel financially secure enough to anticipate living in their current accommodation over the next year, and lack of housing solutions is the main factor which forces IDPs to return to NCGA or to resettle in the other settlements.

  2. Lack of employment opportunities. According to different surveys, 6%-15% of IDPs who were employed before the displacement were unemployed for the moment of the survey. 14% of IDPs aged 18-59 (12% of men and 15% of women) are unemployed and searching for the job vs. 11% of the general population (12% of men and 9% of women). The employment rate increased from 35% in June, 2016 to 46% in June, 2017. The increasing number of IDPs who feel themselves “integrated” and who don’t want to return is observed in parallel.

At the same time, 91% of those who were working before the displacement had the permanent employment compared to 78% of working IDPs who had the permanent employment at the moment of the survey.

About one third of employed IDPs complained that jobs did not meet their qualifications. Along with the difficulties in finding permanent jobs in line with qualifications, other constraints to employment are lack of connections which can help to find a highly paid job, age and gender discrimination (employers prefer hiring younger to older and men to women), discrimination because of IDP status, family responsibilities (specifically, women complained that childcare that was once provided by relatives in NGCAs was no longer available) and disability.

63% of unemployed IDPs would prefer a direct employment support, others indicate such types of support as startup of own business (10%), retraining (8%), consultation in the employment centre (6%), and education (5%).

  1. Healthcare services. Cost of medication is a barrier to healthcare for 50% of IDPs. About one third are extremely dissatisfied with healthcare services, particularly, 10% complained that they had no access to those services at all.