After seven years of armed conflict in the Donbas, food security and livelihoods in eastern Ukraine remains poor with 1.5 million people in need in 2020. The COVID-19 pandemic led to the rising of food prices, disrupted access to markets, restriction of people’s movements across the Contact Line, reduction in industrial production. All these events compounded the food security situation of the conflict-affected population.
The conflict has also caused an economic downturn in the region – the Line of Contact disrupted pre-conflict economic networks, leading to a loss of economic opportunities for the entire region, with small cities and rural areas cut-off from the urban centers which before acted as economic hubs for the region.
«Since the beginning of the conflict our life in Semyhiria is not easy. I am a mother of three children and we feel very much damage on our normal life. We have limited access to the basic services and food products. Moreover, the COVID-19 pandemic isolated us and made our access to the food even more limited. » said Natalia.
Due to the closing of companies and low agricultural productivity as a result of the armed conflict, unemployment is already high among people on both sides of the Line of contact. The COVID-19 restrictive measures also limited availability of food products and access to markets, especially in rural areas and isolated settlements.That is why a lot of conflict-affected people rely on the humanitarian aid.
«Humanitarian aid is very important, especially for families like us. I am on maternity leave and only my husband works. It is very difficult to live only on only one salary. Moreover, here in our village we have the big problems with work because the farm where the majority works may close soon. It is very scary to be left without a job and help» she added.
ACTED provided unconditional cash transfers to the 4, 997 conflict-affected people during winter and spring 2020-2021, as this was the period when food insecurity levels were the highest.
«Cash assistance from ACTED was spent on food. We have a large family – 2 adults and 3 children, so we bought a large amount of cereals: 1 bag of buckwheat, 1 rice and 1 sugar. We still have these stocks. Of course, we made our children happy too. We bought them some sweets – their favorite candies, bananas and citrus fruits. They were extremely happy. Also we saved money from my husband’s salary and bought 2 machines of the firewood for house heating. We are very grateful to ACTED for the humanitarian aid provided.»