Since February 24th, 2022, Ukraine has been under constant rocket attacks which have caused significant damage to public and energy infrastructure. These attacks have disrupted essential services and threaten access to health care and education.
Through this EU-funded project, ACTED and the Estonian Refugee Council are providing cash assistance to conflict-affected people in 11 Ukrainian regions to cover basic needs for food, medicine, household items, clothing and other winter-related needs, according to families’ priorities.
Although electricity production has been restored, half of the energy infrastructure is damaged, according to the Minister of Energy of Ukraine. The bombing continues to deprive hundreds of thousands of people of electricity, gas and heating.
Mrs. Helen* is 40 years old. She lives and works in Kharkiv. She is one of those affected by the damage caused to the electrical infrastructure “ We are in Kharkiv for the moment with my family because there is work. I am working in the procurement department of a scientific research institute.”
“Lately we hear rocket fire almost every day at 11pm and 4am. Fridays are the day when the artillery fire is most intense. The light goes out regularly: it stays on for 4 hours during the day and is off for the next 4 hours”
Areas close to the front lines are the most affected and have been without essential services for months.
According to the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs’ report, 1.7 million people need winter-related intervention. People need house repairs, warm clothes, and fuel for heating to deal with cold temperatures. Regarding the 5.35 million people who had to leave their homes, most of them have no place to return to. Their homes have been destroyed or damaged, roofs and windows have been broken. Those who have not been able to leave their homes live in constant fear of further rocket attacks.
The situation in the country is sad. It’s scary and dangerous. Lately we hear rocket fire almost every day.
“We can only stay at home after work. It’s dark outside. The transport only works until 6 or 7 pm, so our management allows us to leave work earlier. Some places are open in the centre, but only during the day.
In Donetsk, the military action started from the airport. We too lived in the middle of an airport area, the one in Kharkiv. I have a 16-year-old daughter and she panicked. We decided to go to relatives’ houses and then to friends’ houses. That’s when a missile fell on a school, 50 meters from my house. The houses next door were totally damaged. Our windows were blown out and our roofs were destroyed.” says Helen.
Areas of return, isolated locations and damaged houses are a humanitarian response priority in Eastern and Central regions of Ukraine.
The damage of the buildings is even more problematic as winter temperatures in Ukraine can quickly drop to -20°C and more. Kharkiv, which were liberated by the Ukrainian army is one of the coldest areas. People’s lives are becoming even more difficult as increasing market and utility prices prevent them from accessing their basic needs.
“The cash assistance came exactly when we needed to recover from the missile strike. It was cold and we used the funds to repair the house we live in, we put in new windows.” says Ms. Helen.
Through this project, 130,592 Ukrainians received cash assistance to face winter temperatures.
I hope that the war will end as soon as possible and that everyone will go home and be safe, without fear for their loved ones. There is nothing else I want at this moment.
*The name of the beneficiary has been changed for protection pruposes