Ukraine

Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine and UNHCR sign agreement to enable people displaced by the war to access their rights and find sustainable solutions to their displacement [EN/UK]

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Vice Prime Minister and Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories of Ukraine and UNHCR Representative sign agreement to enable people displaced by the war to access their rights and find sustainable solutions to their displacement

Kyiv, 16 April 2022 – Yesterday, Iryna Vereshchuk, Vice Prime Minister – Minister for Reintegration of the Temporarily Occupied Territories and Karolina Lindholm Billing, the Representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ukraine signed a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out areas of cooperation to enable displaced persons and other people impacted by the war to have access to services and sustainable solutions whilst in displacement.

The war against Ukraine has triggered one of the fastest-growing displacement and humanitarian crises ever. In 50 days, 11.7 million people – more than a quarter of the population of Ukraine – were forced to flee their homes. More than 4.6 million refugees have fled Ukraine, making this the fastest-growing refugee crisis since World War II. A further 7.1 million people have been displaced internally within Ukraine.

‘People’s greatest wish is to go back home. But for so many, there is no home to return to since it’s been destroyed or damaged, or is located in an area that is not safe. It is therefore important that displaced people can access legal, social and other services, find jobs and continue education in the place where they currently have found safety and, importantly, a place to live’, said Karolina Lindholm Billing.

Intensive shelling and fighting have caused extensive damage to residential buildings and civilian infrastructure. The full scale of the damage is hard to ascertain at this stage, as the war rages on.

‘What we know for certain is that the needs in Ukraine are growing by the day. Housing is one of the areas of greatest concern. Although hundreds of thousands of people are now staying in temporary reception centres or with hosting families who have generously opened their homes in safer parts of the country, longer term solutions need to be found’, added Lindholm Billing.

‘Over the past seven years, UNHCR has rehabilitated more than 22,000 homes in eastern Ukraine, and knows how much it means for families to be able to return to their house again’, said Lindholm Billing.

Since the end of February, UNHCR has expanded the capacity of around 75 temporary reception centres in oblasts receiving displaced persons, distributed non-food items, hygiene kits and food assistance to 250,000 people, provided counselling and legal advice to 53,000 people at border points, in reception centres and through hotlines, and transferred cash assistance to 57,000 displaced people who have sought safety in seven oblasts around Ukraine. Every day, expansion of these programs continues across the country.