Warsaw, 8 January 2014: Thanks to the funding from Polish Aid, PCPM – Polish Center for International Aid completed winterization and rehabilitation works in the Romashka Collective Center in the northern outskirts of Kharkov. The reception capacity of the Collective Center has been expanded from 120 to 410 persons.
Kharkov Region, bordering on conflict-affected Ukrainian regions of Donetsk and Luzhansk, has the highest number of Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in the country. As of 2 January, Kharkov Region hosted at least 121,000 IDPs, while Kharkov city was a home to as many as 82,000 IDPs (67%). According to PCPM assessment, over 75% IDPs in Kharkov are accommodated in rented apartments, while some 25% stay with host family or in rentfree accommodation.
Romashka Collective Center is located in the grounds of the former Pioneers’ Camp in the northern outskirts of Kharkov. Since the mass influx of IDPs in the Summer of 2014, it has been the largest concentration of IDPs from Donetsk and Luzhansk regions in the Kharkov Region. In November 2014, the camp hosted over 120 IDPs. However, the wooden, summer housing proved not suitable for providing accommodation during severe frosts. The IDPs suffered when temperatures dipped below -20°C in November.
In December 2014, PCPM undertook a comprehensive rehabilitation and winterization works. Two inhabitted buildings were provided with improved water and sanitation facilities, as well as were properly winterized. Additional six buildings, previously uninhabitted, were provided with interior and external insulation, new windows and doors, as well as with bathroom and central heating. These rehabiliated structures can accommodate additional 300 persons, with accommodation and sanitation standards meeting the SPHERE requirements. The Collective Center was also provided with 200 new beds.
Thanks to a Polish Aid grant, amounting over USD 250,000, PCPM completed winterization and rehabilitation works in only 30 days. The project employed over 15 construction teams and 60 workers, operating in a two-shift system.
First IDPs started to move into the rehabilitated buildings on 31 December, when temperatures at night dipped to below -22°C and Kharkov was blanketed with a half meter layer of snow. It is expected that the Collective Center, managed by a local NGO „Rodina Ponad Use” will reach its full reception capacity in late January or early February 2015.
In addition to emergency winterization of the Collective Center, in December 2014 PCPM provided one-time winterization cash grant for over 1,000 IDP families in Kharkov and Kharkov Region, as well as distributed 5,000 food parcels and 2,000 kits for children with diapers and baby food. The in-kind assistance was brought aboard of 20 trucks within a larger, Polish Aid-sponsored humanitarian convoy that arrived in Kharkov on 19 December 2014. Overall value of PCPM humanitarian aid provided to IDPs in Kharkov in November – December 2014 and funded by Polish Aid exceeds USD 450,000.