During September – November 2015, WFP Ukraine through its partner, the Kiev International Institute of Sociology (KIIS), carried out a food security and vulnerability assessment (FSA) in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts, in the government controlled areas (GCA), non-government controlled areas (NGCA) and the buffer zone (BZ) this assessment report, these two areas will be considered as one common geographical area.
Initial analysis shows that the overall food insecurity levels are comparable to those found in the previous assessment conducted in March 2015 in eastern Ukraine. It is worth noting that the severity of food insecurity has moderated in NGCA, which may be attributed to the humanitarian assistance provided by various agencies, including WFP, and the relatively calm security situation. Around 1.5 million people were found to be food insecure, including 290,000 people who were severely food insecure and in need of immediate food assistance. Luhansk NGCA and the BZ seem to be the most affected by food insecurity, and are in need of further food security assistance.
Assessment results indicate that around 65 percent of people in both GCA and NGCA experienced a complete loss or a significant reduction of income during the September – November 2015 period. Moreover, on average, only 2.5 percent of the households in both GCA and NGCA expected the general situation to improve. Lack of employment opportunities and high prices of food continue to significantly affect households’ ability to access food, more so in NGCA. Pensions (62 percent of households) and benefits related to children (7 percent) represent the biggest share of social benefits and safety nets that households have access to.
Prices increased by 43.3 percent in December 2015 compared to the beginning of year. Food inflation remains one of the highest in the world. Food prices peaked in March 2015, increasing by 53 percent year over year. Higher food inflation rates, coupled with significant income losses, significantly affect households’ ability to access food in the markets. This finding is quite important as this assessment found that the majority of households in both GCA and NGCA rely significantly on markets for their food purchases. Around 80 percent of the interviewed households stated that they use markets to access food.
WFP Market Updates estimate that the value of the food basket increased by 46 percent year over year in November 2015 in GCA. The value of the food basket in NGCA saw a decrease in the last months of 2015, however, it still remains around 22 percent higher when compared to national levels. There are significant differences in food prices observed in different areas in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts in both GCA and NGCA.