IOM Ukraine Crisis Response Plan, 1 January – 31 December 2018


3.4 million


Nearly four years of ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine has had a significant impact on all aspects of life for the communities residing in the Donbas region. The protracted nature of the crisis has paralyzed economic activity and severely reduced household coping capacities on both sides of the 457 km contact line. At the household level, few employment opportunities have also led to a lack of income and the inability to meet basic needs.

According to Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy (MoSP), nearly 1.5 million persons are registered as displaced, with the vast majority residing in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts. Internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees and other conflict-affected populations continue to cross the contact line regularly, between the non-government controlled area (NGCA) and government controlled area (GCA) at five checkpoints. Throughout 2017, figures of individuals crossing the contact line reached an all-time high in August, when a recorded 1.2 million people crossed the contact line during the month. The large numbers of people crossing between the GCA and NGCA and limited capacity of the checkpoints to process the increase in crossings has led to long queues, lack of adequate sanitation facilities and exposure to bad weather conditions, or other health and protection concerns, such as those related to psychosocial needs, trafficking in persons and exploitation.

The overall humanitarian situation in Eastern Ukraine remains dire. Assistance continues to be provided in the NGCA despite various challenges, including limitation on transport of humanitarian cargo and limited access to the affected populations. The deterioration of the situation in the NGCA is evidenced by the increase in poor food consumption, application of negative cop ing mechanisms and reduction of food expenditure. Moreover, the damage to or destruction of gas and water pipelines as well as homes and social institutions further increases the vulnerability of entire social segments of conflict-affected communities by limiting their access to adequate heating, hygiene facilities and clean drinking water. The peak in unemployment rates and the scarce public services increase overall dependency on humanitarian aid and public support.

In the GCA, the economic depression and limited resources of the displaced population have placed further strain on already overstretched social services. According to IOM’s National Monitoring System Round 8 report, 33% of surveyed IDP households in the GCA have ‘only enough funds to cover food’ and 11% have to ‘limit expenses even for food’. Despite the continuously increasing percentage of employed IDPs (from 35% in March 2016 to 50% in December 2017), the average IDP household monthly income per person (UAH 2,446 in December 2017) remains below the actual subsistence level established by the Ministry of Social Policy (UAH 3,091 in December 2017).

Due to the protracted nature of the conflict in Eastern Ukraine, slow economic growth and increased social tensions, 2018 will be a critical year for the transition from humanitarian assistance to longer-term recovery efforts. Bridging the gap between humanitarian and development interventions is critical to simultaneously address the urgent and longer-term needs of conflictaffected communities in the Donbas. The situation of protracted displacement requires concerted efforts from the Government of Ukraine, humanitarian and development actors as well as conflict affected communities to jointly identify actions in support of durable solutions to end displacement.