Five Years into the Conflict: Displaced People in Ukraine Need Long-Term Solutions to Housing and Employment Challenges

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9 April 2019 - As the conflict in the east of Ukraine enters the sixth year this spring, the number of affected people remains as high as 5.2 million, according to the Humanitarian Country Team estimates. About 1.3 million internally displaced persons (IDPs) are registered across the country by the Ministry of Social Policy as of March.

In addition to the provision of humanitarian, livelihood and social cohesion assistance to conflict-affected people in Ukraine, IOM, UN Migration, has been assessing the needs of displaced women, men and children with the help of its global tool, the Displacement Tracking Matrix. The latest round of IOM’s survey has been conducted with funding from the European Union and the United States Department of State for Population, Refugees and Migration (PRM). Results have been presented in capital Kyiv in cooperation with the Ministry of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs and the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine.

IOM observes that most displaced people, or 69 per cent, have been staying at their current place of residence for over three years. The share of those who declare their intention not to return to their previous homes even after the end of the conflict has grown from 29 per cent in March 2017 to 34 per cent in December 2018.

“Protracted displacement requires long-term solutions to the challenges faced by IDPs, with housing being the top-one of them,” said IOM Ukraine's Emergency and Stabilization Programme Coordinator, Stefano Pes. “As we know from our surveys, the share of IDPs who managed to purchase their own dwelling has been staying unchanged for over a year at 12 per cent, while 63 per cent of displaced people still rent flats, houses or rooms,” he added.

According to the latest round of IOM survey, 44 per cent of IDPs are currently employed, while before displacement about 60 per cent of those currently uprooted had a job.

Deputy Minister of Social Policy of Ukraine, Mykola Shambir, thanked UN Migration for a fruitful cooperation and dialogue, and appreciated the work IOM does to assess the issues faced by IDPs. According to him, IOM's survey is particularly valuable for the Ministry of Social Policy considering social payments to IDPs, employment, access to social services, and positive trends of IDPs integration in host communities. Mr Shambir also informed about the availability of housing subventions for displaced persons.

Deputy Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs of Ukraine, Heorhii Tuka, thanked UN Migration for long-term cooperation in assessing the needs of displaced people. “Despite remaining challenges, the consolidation of efforts of the Government, local authorities, IDP host communities, international partners and IDPs themselves bring positive change,” he said.

“IDPs are Ukrainian citizens, willing to start from scratch and contributing to their new communities. This is a great human and intellectual potential for the development,” concluded Heorhii Tuka.

IOM has been conducting surveys on the situation of IDPs in Ukraine on a regular basis since March 2016. In the latest, 12th round, conducted in October-December 2018, a total of 2,403 respondents were interviewed face-to-face, and 4,044 by telephone.