This document is the third iteration of the Flash Appeal for Ukraine, which was originally published on 1 March 2022 and revised once in mid-April. This updated Flash Appeal covers the period of 10 months following the onset of the war in Ukraine that started on 24 February 2022 (i.e., from March to December 2022). The financial requirement of this Flash Appeal reflects the humanitarian needs from March until the end of 2022, taking into account the funding status and the response achievements to date, as well as the realistic projection of response capacity in the second half of the year. The smaller set of prioritized activities outlined in the “Winter Priority Procurement and Repair Plan,” which was released at the end of June 2022, have been folded into this Flash Appeal and complemented by other critical winterization and winter-specific interventions. These include (but are not limited to) cash for accommodation and utilities, cash or agricultural inputs for farmers to support winterization, heating system repairs, etc. This update of the Ukraine Flash Appeal will be the last iteration in 2022.
Overview of the Crisis
More than five months since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, humanitarian needs continue to rise rapidly.
Millions of people across the country have endured months of intense hostilities without adequate access to food, water, health care, education, protection and other essential services. Massive destruction of civilian infrastructure has left hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians without their homes or livelihoods. Too many are now living in damaged homes or in buildings ill-suited to provide protection for the upcoming harsh cold season, where the sub-zero temperatures could be life-threatening. Humanitarian organizations in Ukraine have dramatically scaled up their operations, reaching over 11.7 million people in the first five months of the conflict. The deteriorating situation and consequent need for continued life-saving assistance, and the predictions for a potentially severe cold season, has prompted a new revision and extension of the Ukraine Flash Appeal to ensure that the humanitarian response can be sustained until the end of 2022.
The war in Ukraine shows no signs of abating and continues to drive increasing humanitarian needs across the country, especially in the Donbas region, some northern and southern oblasts. Needs also persist amongst displaced people who are now seeking safety in the west and central regions of Ukraine. Intense hostilities and fighting since the start of Russia’s invasion on 24 February have left at least 17.7 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and protection, an increase of around 2 million people compared to April, when the Flash Appeal was last revised. Fighting and hostilities have further intensified across the entire front line since May, with clashes and attacks taking a heavy toll on civilians living in cities that have recently changed control, including Sievierodonetsk and Lysychansk in Luhanska oblast, which are now controlled by Russian Federation forces and affiliated groups. In Donetska oblast, ongoing hostilities are making civilian life extremely difficult in cities still under the control of Ukrainian authorities. ln parallel, civilians are also being killed, injured, and houses and other critical civilian infrastructure are being damaged and destroyed in non-Government-controlled areas (NGCA) of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts.
The frequent use of explosive weapons in populated areas, including shelling from heavy artillery and rockets, as well as missile and air strikes, have left hundreds of civilians killed, injured or maimed. According to data verified and corroborated by the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine, 12,584 civilian casualties were reported in Ukraine from 24 February to 31 July 2022, including 5,327 people killed and 7,257 injured. The real numbers are likely much higher, but already exceed the verified 10,982 civilian casualties (3,404 killed and 7,578 injured), reported in the previous eight years of conflict in eastern Ukraine.
Millions who had been uprooted during the first two months of war are now trying to return to their areas of origin, although many have no option other than find safety far from their homes. Between May and July alone, more than 5.5 million people who had been internally displaced across Ukraine returned to their houses, mainly in Kyiv, eastern and northern parts of the country. Displacement dynamics are, however, fluid, and nearly 60 per cent of those who returned home do not feel safe. At the same time, thousands continue to be forced from areas under active fighting. According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM), about 6.6 million people—at least 64 per cent of whom are women—are still trying to find safety in different parts of Ukraine as of July 2022. In the western parts of Ukraine, internally displaced persons (IDPs) struggle to find adequate accommodation and income, resulting in vulnerability to exploitation, gender-based violence (GBV) and family separation, while incidents of social tensions with host communities have been reported. In addition, the United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) estimates that over 6.3 million Ukrainian refugees are living in different European countries as of 3 August 2022.
The war has severely impacted agriculture in Ukraine, leaving thousands of farmers without income, and exacerbated food insecurity among vulnerability groups. Those displaced by the war are the most heavily affected. According to the World Food Programme (WFP), 20 per cent of the people of Ukraine have insufficient food consumption and one in three families are resorting to negative coping strategies. The situation is particularly concerning in the eastern and southern parts of the country, where one in every two families is facing challenges in putting food on their table. In addition, nearly 40 per cent of female-headed families in war-affected areas are food insecure and require support to address specific dietary needs, especially pregnant and breastfeeding women. People with chronic illnesses or disabilities are also facing increasing challenges.
With the 2022 harvesting campaign in Ukraine already ongoing, farmers are facing challenges to harvest, store and export their produce. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) estimates that there will be a 20 to 30 per cent decline in winter cereal—maize and sunflower—production in Ukraine during the harvest season, as farmers either could not plant or will not be able to harvest their crops. In recent months, there have been mounting reports of fertile land or crops being destroyed during fighting or hostilities. In addition, FAO data shows that some 14 per cent of all storage facilities used by farmers are either damaged or destroyed and estimates the shortage of grain storage space for the new harvest to be 16.3 million tons. With the current trends, the deficit in the new season may reach 20 million tons.
Over 5.7 million school-aged children have been negatively impacted by the war, including 3.6 million affected by the closure of educational institutions. Acute and ongoing exposure to conflict-related trauma and the resulting psychological stress is also affecting education and creating a risk of school dropouts and negative coping mechanisms. The Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine (MESU) reported that, at the end of July, nearly 2,200 educational facilities had been damaged across the country, including more than 220 completely destroyed. In addition, about 3,500 educational institutions are being used for humanitarian purposes (shelter, centres for the collection/distribution of humanitarian aid, food preparation), further affecting access to education. In the winter, anticipated shortages of electricity and fuel will add to the challenges to ensure children in Ukraine can continue their education.
The war is causing enormous mental trauma on people who have seen their loved ones killed, injured, their homes and cities destroyed. Children are particularly affected. Girls, boys and entire families have to cope with loss, grief, anxiety, fear, not knowing about the whereabouts of loved ones, having to leave their homes and schools, witnessing or being subjects of violence and isolation. The psychosocial well-being of children and their emotional resilience is directly linked to the existence of routines and predictability in life, in which access to their school community, social networks and support systems plays a vital role.
Massive destruction of civilian infrastructure has made life extremely difficult for millions of people and severely disrupted essential services, particularly health care. More than 70 per cent of all attacks against health care facilities in the world this year–434 out of the 615 recorded so far—have occurred in Ukraine. These attacks have decimated health services at a time when people need it most. Tuberculosis, HIV and viral hepatitis treatment programmes have been disrupted, impeding access to medicines, interrupting testing and delaying treatment. The situation is particularly acute in non-Government-controlled areas (NCGA), where people are facing dire challenges in accessing medical attention or critical medication. Challenges in delivering supplies or services across the front line in Donetska and Luhanska oblasts are reportedly leaving people suffering from chronic or communicable diseases—including HIV, Tuberculosis (TB) and viral hepatitis—without the life-saving treatment they need. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), while 92 per cent of HIV facilities nationwide continue to provide treatment, only 9 per cent of HIV treatment sites are operational in Luhanska oblast. In 2020, Ukraine had the second highest rate of newly diagnosed HIV infections in the WHO European Region and had been identified as one of the top 20 countries with the highest estimated number of drug-resistant TB cases. Across the country, women face an increased care burden, lack of access to sexual and reproductive health services or shelters with sufficient medical supplies for newborn and older people. Access to essential medicine has become challenging for people with disabilities and people with chronic illnesses. Transgender people are also affected due to the lack of available hormone therapy.
With large population movements, increased social mixing and the disruption of vaccination services and surveillance, there is an increased risk of outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases. Prior to the war, vaccination coverage was already particularly low for polio, measles and hepatitis B, while the COVID-19 vaccine uptake was among the lowest in Europe. In addition, there have been increasing reports of gastrointestinal infections and bacterial diseases. Cases of botulism, linked to the consumption of contaminated meat and fish, have been reported in several oblasts. Non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are also highly prevalent in Ukraine due to behavioural and biological risk factors, especially in men. Access to essential health services and medications are crucial for the treatment of NCDs, particularly in older people, many of whom have been unable to flee the fighting due to reduced mobility.
Access to health services, essential medicines, and market goods is limited by insecurity and movement restrictions due to hostilities, marital law and curfews. Based on the shifting operational context, more than 200 health facilities have found themselves close to the front line or in the areas of changed control. Many rural communities do not have pharmacies or medical centres. The supply chains for medicines, medical supplies and common goods have been disrupted, creating urgent needs. Many distributors are no longer operational, and many government and humanitarian stockpiles are inaccessible due to active hostilities.
Damage to critical infrastructure has severely impacted access to water, particularly in non-Government-controlled areas of Donetska oblast, and in cities that are now under control of the Russian Federation, including Mariupol, Mykolaiv, Sievierodonetsk, increasing the risk of water-borne diseases. In Donetska oblast, thousands of people receive piped water for only a couple of hours, every other day. Ukrainian authorities have reported that residents of Mariupol are forced to use water from puddles and sewers for non-drinking purposes, as they can only access five litres of drinking water per person per week. People in Mykolaiv are also facing growing challenges in accessing water for drinking or cooking due to the destruction of the town’s de-salinization and purification facilities. Newly drilled wells serve only about 5 per cent of the population, and the extracted water is often below desirable quality standards. There is also increased demand and need for separate public toilets and water, sanitation and hygiene facilities for men and women in collective centres, to mitigate the protection risks to women and children in particular.
During the approaching cold season, the destruction of houses and lack of access to fuel or electricity due to damaged infrastructure could become a matter of life or death, if people are unable to heat their homes. According to the Government of Ukraine, over 800,000 houses have been damaged or destroyed in the country since the start of the war, and thousands of people are now living either in collective centres or damaged buildings, without the protection they need against the harsh cold season. In addition, an estimated 244,000 users across the country—including families, business enterprises and services such as schools or hospitals—have no gas supplies, essential not only for cooking but also for heating premises. In Donetska and Luhanska oblasts, and parts of Kharkivska, Mykolaivska and Zaporizka oblasts, over 620,000 customers do not have electricity in their homes, businesses, schools or health centres, due to structural damage caused to the electrical network.
Cold temperatures are predicted to plummet as low as –20 degrees Celsius in parts of the country, severely impacting millions living in sub-standard conditions or without sufficient structural insulation or access to heating. In parallel, many affected communities face significant limitations in accessing functioning markets for solid fuel, stoves, winter clothes, and other winter essentials. The availability of safe and affordable transportation to and from markets is varied. Areas particularly impacted by market access constraints include Sumska and Kharkhivska oblasts and large areas of the Donbas region.
There are mounting allegations of conflict-related sexual violence and other forms of gender-based violence (GBV) being perpetrated against women and girls during the war. Those moving from one part of the country to another, at border crossing points, in transit/collective centers, or in bomb shelters have been reported to be particularly insecure and at high risk of sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, trafficking, and economic violence. Intimate partner violence is reportedly on the rise across the different regions of Ukraine, and disproportionately affects women. Although GBV-specialized services continue to operate in a number of municipalities and many large cities (except those communities where active hostilities are taking place), essential services are currently affected by significant gaps and limitations. These include state services shifting their focus away from GBV to address other urgent needs of displaced people such as accommodation, social protection, caring for the wounded. The reduced capacity of the already stretched health care system to respond to sexual violence against women and girls is also a challenge, exacerbated by the lack of resources (human and financial) amongst many service providers, broken referral pathways, and limited access of internally displaced people to life-saving information, including how and where to access specialized GBV services.
Men face different specific challenges, including mandatory military conscription, which impacts their freedom of movement. Overall, the war is exacerbating pre-existing inequalities and creating new challenges for both women and men in the country. Ukraine’s population has a distinctly gendered profile, with 54 per cent women and 46 per cent men, including a particularly large population of older females. Prior to the beginning of the conflict on 24 February, 71 per cent of the heads of households in the areas close to the former “contact line” in Government-controlled areas (GCA) of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts were female. Women from vulnerable groups—particularly the elderly—are being left behind and disproportionately affected by disruptions caused by war. At the same time, challenges imposed on men makes the displacement and refugee flow largely gendered, and 64 per cent of people displaced are female. This creates challenges for both women and men to provide for their families and imposes additional burdens on women who often serve in unpaid caregiver roles.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.