IDPs from eastern Ukraine found a new home in Kharkiv region

Mar 25, 2015

Larysa and Yuliya inaugurate the EU-UNDP supported IDP centre who is now a safe place for more than 60 IDPs families with children. Photo: UNDP Ukraine

Three-year-old Larysa and  four-year-old Yuliya are smiling shyly as TV cameras are zooming in as they cut blue ribbons during inauguration ceremony of the center for internally-displaced people (IDP) in a sleepy town of Balaklia in Kharkiv region. Massive shelling that razed their home to the ground forced them to stay in a cellar for more than 10 days without water, electricity and heating. They were later evacuated by the military and volunteers to the neighboring Kharkiv region. Their story is a very typical one for more than one million people  who have been forced to leave their homes since the onset of conflict in the East of the country in mid-2014. The poor, people with disabilities and other vulnerable groups have been hit hardest by the crisis.

These children now will have a safe place to stay in a newly renovated rooms of the former sports school turned into a shelter hosting more than 60 IDPs families with children.

Speaking at a UNDP-supported rehabilitation centre for people with disabilities in the war-torn Donetsk region, Neal Walker, UN’s Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative in Ukraine said: “We are here to help Ukraine address current challenges and provide necessary humanitarian and development assistance.”

“Supporting internally displaced persons and early recovery of social institutions are our top priorities. We stand ready to provide the Government and people of Ukraine with any assistance needed,” he said.

UNDP has developed comprehensive support and early recovery programmes for the internally displaced that take into account the rapidly changing reality on the ground. More than 80,000 people received humanitarian assistance comprising of food kits, clothes packages and warm bedding funded by the Church of the latter day saints. Now support is beginning to move past the immediate humanitarian phase, looking to longer term recovery.

With around one million US dollars of support from the European Union, UNDP is also working to house and provide services for around 20,000 IDPs, in 14 newly renovated shelters in the seven Eastern regions with the most displaced people.

Many are elderly, have disabilities or are families with children. They will receive medical care and vocational training to help them earn a living under new circumstances.

The renovation of the shelters is part of a joint EU-UNDP project “Community Based Approach to Local Development” that works with local authorities. The project also supports social care centres for the most vulnerable.

The UNDP – EU partnership for development in Ukraine spans over 20 years and has helped the country to boost its systems to prevent drug use and drug and trafficking, support border management, foster gender equality, tackle  the effects of climate change, uphold consumer rights and mobilise communities to improve basic services and living standards.

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