99% of people surveyed by the IRC resort to desperate measures in the wake of growing insecurity
Kyiv, Ukraine, 23 February 2023 — One year since the war in Ukraine escalated, a recent assessment by International Rescue Committee (IRC) reveals that almost all families surveyed are struggling to meet their most basic needs for warmth and food, while 58% of people interviewed are grappling with psychological trauma, stress and anxiety. As the conflict shows no signs of abating, 17.6 million people inside the country are in need of humanitarian assistance, while the official UN estimates indicate that 27% of their needs have reached “catastrophic” levels.
- A recent IRC survey conducted across six regions of Ukraine reveals that amidst continued fighting, growing insecurity and new socio-economic factors, such as reduced income, have driven almost all respondents (99%) to adopt negative coping mechanisms.
- Over 60% of people were forced to exhaust their savings, 51% reduced their spending on food and 30% had to cut on their medical expenses. People do not have the resources to buy medication or cover for transportation costs to get to the nearest hospital.
- Money, health services and food are among their most pressing priorities, with 93% of families lacking the financial resources to meet their basic household needs.
- As winter temperatures continue, internally displaced people interviewed both in collective shelters and private homes lack firewood, warm clothing and blankets, electric heaters and generators, and cash to pay for utilities.
For nearly a year, the IRC together with local partners have been providing cash, protection, legal aid and emergency items to displaced people and families living close to the frontlines. Across Europe and in the US we are working to support those fleeing the violence and seeking to rebuild their lives. We are committed to staying and delivering for all conflict-affected people as long as needed, and we encourage international donors to continue to provide essential funding to support the humanitarian response inside Ukraine and across the region.
Marysia Zapasnik, IRC’s Country Director, said:
“One year since the war escalated, our survey demonstrates the devastating impact the conflict has had on the people of Ukraine. With the country experiencing a bitterly cold winter, 27% of the people we spoke to told us they didn’t have sufficient heating. 93% said they could not meet their basic needs. What families need right now is protection, safety and warmth, access to humanitarian assistance to survive today and economic support to allow them to rebuild their lives tomorrow.
“To date, the IRC together with our local partners has reached over half a million people with critical humanitarian assistance. We are providing support directly to the displaced families, so that they can buy food and children’s clothing, and pay their bills. We are working with the older people who are unable to reach medical facilities, and those who are struggling to heat their homes. Our teams also strive to address the less visible, but no less damaging, psychological impacts of the war by assisting women and children to cope with acute anxiety, stress and trauma.
“But we cannot stop here. One year on, the world must not forget Ukraine. It is vital that donors sustain the humanitarian efforts to support the people in need in Ukraine - and those displaced beyond its borders.”
The IRC’s January 2023 needs assessment was conducted among 610 people from six regions in Ukraine: Dnipro, Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Odesa, Zaporizhzhia and Kerson. 64% of respondents were internally displaced people, 33% host community/residents, 3% were returnees. Money, health services and food were listed as priority needs among respondents, 25% of surveyed households’ members have reported some kind of disability (difficulty hearing, seeing, walking, difficulty remembering or with self-care tasks. The top three prioritised needs in the households are: Money (94%), Health (49%), and Food (41%). Among the households surveyed stated that they could only meet some or none of their needs in the following areas: food (32%), shelter (37%), hygiene (28%), household items/NFI (35%), water (21%).
Europe hosts over 8 million people who have fled Ukraine. 5.4 million people remain internally displaced inside the country.
17.7 million people need humanitarian aid in Ukraine today. 45% are women, 23% are children and 15% are people living with disabilities. This includes over 4 million Ukrainians who have returned into the country and 6.9 million local residents in conflict-affected areas.
According to OCHA, the needs of 27% affected people have reached “catastrophic” levels.
Almost two-thirds of children were forced to flee their homes in Ukraine since the escalation of the war. There are over 4 million children in need of humanitarian assistance in Ukraine today.
One in three households in Ukraine is food insecure, with one in two households food insecure in Kharkiv and Luhansk in the east.
IRC’s response in Ukraine:
- Over 500,000 individuals reached as of late February;
- Over 101,000 individuals supported with cash assistance to cover their basic needs, 17 USD million in cash distributed;
- 82,671 individuals received emergency kits of basic essential items;
- 29,017 individuals assisted within our winter response, including 500 families who have received solid fuel stoves;
- 260,535 individuals provided with emergency protection services;
- 49 health facilities supported with urgently needed medical items, equipment, and pharmaceutical supplies;
- 7,374 people provided with critical health assistance.