The war has triggered an unprecedented movement of civilians internally within Ukraine and across borders. According OCHA Humanitarian Needs Overview, over 7.9 million Ukrainians live as registered refugees in neighboring countries and across Europe. An estimated 5.9 million people became internally displaced. When Ukraine regained control of areas in Kyiv and Chernihiv oblast, people started to return home.
But according to the State Emergency Service of Ukraine (SESU), about 30 percent of Ukraine’s territory may still potentially be mined due to war. Explosive objects can be found in fields, rivers, roadsides, residential buildings, and playgrounds. SESU rescuers are doing 24/7 demining interventions around Ukraine and on recently regained areas of Chernihiv oblast specifically to ensure that people who have returned to their homes are safe.
“The territory of Ukraine is currently one of the most polluted with mines, especially the places where the hostilities took place. Before winter, we checked all suburbs and settlements affected by the war if there are mines and the local people returned. The fields and forest areas have not yet been checked. They are marked with special “danger warning” signs.” said Mykhailo Iliev, the head of the SESU pyrotechnic working group in the Chernihiv region.
More than 49,000 explosive objects of different types (mines, aerial bombs, artillery) have been found and deactivated by the SESU team in Chernihiv oblast.
“Our unit is also involved in demining other areas. We have been twice to the Kharkiv region, which is constantly bombed and heavily polluted with hazardous materials. It is very important to have modern equipment to do our work safely. The equipment provided by ACTED is very useful, easy to use, and compact. This is a great contribution to our unit“ added Mykhailo.
Nearly 6,900 square kilometres were examined. There are still 3,436 2 km left along the state border.
A special mascot supports the sappers and pyrotechnicians of the SESU pyrotechnic unit in the search for explosive objects : a bomb-sniffing Jack Russell Terrier named Patron who helps to clear mines in Ukraine.
“Patron is my own dog, but when the war started, I took him to work, and after completing a specialized training program he works with me 24/7. “ – Mykhailo
With support from UK Aid, ACTED delivered priority equipment to authorities to support the implementation of emergency plans, including search and rescue tools, generators, charging stations and power banks, dosimeters, heaters, mine detectors, and rescue boats.
Under this project, ACTED also undertook the renovation of 17 bomb shelters in Odesa, Kirovograd, and Chernihiv oblasts. ACTED has improved ventilation systems and basic security, installed benches, beds, blankets, and mattresses. The shelters have been equipped with drinking and technical water tanks, lamps, Wi-Fi modems, fire extinguishers, medical supplies and tools.
Now, people sheltering in these places will be safe and during air raids and other emergencies.
ACTED and its partners have delivered First Aid and mental health , and psychosocial support training to State Emergency Services personnel, as well as staff of social care institutions in Chernihiv, Odesa, Kropyvnytsky, and Kyiv oblast. ACTED has also worked with the authorities of four municipalities in Chernihivska and Odesa to install public alert systems amplifying air raid alarms in areas on the outskirts of urban centers, to ensure residents know when to seek shelter.
Through the generous support of the UK government, ACTED has improved the capacity and readiness of local authorities and civil protection actors to respond effectively to conflict-related emergencies, and keep their communities safe from harm.