Ukrainian Crisis Situational Analysis

Impact Initiatives
October 25, 2023
Situational Analysis

Executive Summary


The number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) continues to drop with the latest figures indicating there are 3.674 million IDPs inside Ukraine as well as a further 6.204 million refugees who have sought shelter abroad. In part the lower numbers are due to a more refined methodology developed in support of the HNO process. Eastern oblasts continue to be both regions hosting the largest number of IDPs and also the origin of many with 24% of IDPs originating from Donteska oblast and a further 22% from Kharkivska. The number of returnees has also been revised downwards, but still stands at 4.573 million with Kyiv city hosting over one million returnees and 800K residing in Kyivska oblast. Reuniting with family was the most common pull factor for those returning to Ukraine. The returnees that intend to stay in Ukraine in the long term cited financial reasons, better security and the need to take on care duties as main pull factors. Other returnees who have returned to Ukraine for short visits only cited medical treatment, renewing documents and checking on properties as the most common reasons for return. The deterioration of the security situation plus loss of access to utilities (such as electricity, water and heating) were the most common reasons for leaving Ukraine identified by those questioned at border crossings. Conflict and insecurity continue to be a major driver of internal displacement, with barriers to adequate shelter and economic factors driving secondary displacement. Roughly half of households living in collective sites (across 4 cities) indicated an intention to stay in their city of displacement over the next year with economic opportunities, housing and safety identified as key requirements to sustain their presence. Most households were positive regarding social cohesion with the host community, but some IDP households reported being subject to discrimination.

Food Security and Livelihoods: Although the overall inflation rate continues to drop and the prices of some food items have also fallen, food price inflation continues to impact households, with some items such as eggs and sunflower oil seeing price increases. Financial factors remain the biggest barrier to accessing goods and markets, with households in the north and east the worst affected.

In response to the rising price of food the level of the minimum expenditure basket (MEB) – which guides cash transfer programmes – has been set to a higher amount. Food availability remains high at a national level, however in front-line areas and areas impacted by the Nova Kakhovka dam breach, the availability of some items remains limited. Food needs remain high in many frontline areas with settlements in close proximity to active hostilities, food products were also flagged as a strong need in 59% of collective sites. Data from March indicated that roughly one third of households that received cash assistance still reported inadequate food consumption. More recent data from the REACH MSNA found that, across Ukraine, 6% of surveyed households reported at least one member going hungry due to lack of food with close to 1% of households reporting that one or more members went a whole day and night without eating. There was widespread use of food coping strategies by recipients of cash transfer programmes, with 88% of households reporting using a food consumption related coping strategy at least once during the week prior to the data collection. In line with the prevalence of food coping strategies, WFP’s PostDistribution Monitoring found that the use of livelihood coping strategies was also widespread with 58% of respondents reporting using crisis level coping strategies in the month prior to data collection. Households across all population groups and in all areas of the country report low incomes (less than UAH 6,700,1 the minimum monthly wage as per the State Budget of Ukraine for 2023) although the profile differed significantly between some oblasts.

Health: Access to healthcare facilities is reported to be mostly adequate, with more households able to access a family doctor and most IDPs capable of accessing healthcare in collective centres. The situation in frontline areas remains, however, more difficult, with damage to healthcare facilities and insecurity restricting access. Altogether, 32% of REACH MSNA respondents in Donetska, 27% in Khersonska and 31% in Mykolaivksa face barriers to accessing healthcare. Information regarding access to healthcare in NGCAs is very limited, however, it is believed that services are not fully functioning.

The costs of medicine and the financial constraints remain the main barriers to accessing healthcare. In July 2023, the average prices for basic medicines (e.g. antibiotics of domestic brands) witnessed a 3% increase. Availability of pharmacies and medicines is also problematic in frontline areas, although this issue has receded somewhat during the past months. Overall, medicines, access to healthcare and mental health support continue to be flagged as important needs.

Protection: The escalation of the conflict has resulted in breaches of international law by both parties to conflict. Populations living closer to the frontline have continued to report security and safety-related concerns. Sexual and gender-based violence (SGBV) also remains an issue in the country with many news agencies reporting instances of torture and abuse against civilian detainees. SGBV risks are particularly high in informal shelters, reception and transit facilities, refugee accommodation centres and private accommodation as women and children represent the majority of those displaced and many are separated from their families. Indeed, access to SGBV services and improvement of SGBV referral mechanisms has frequently been cited as one of the urgent needs for women, especially noted in collective sites. Another significant concern for children is kidnapping. Ukrainian authorities have stated that nearly 20,000 Ukrainian children have been moved to either Russia or Russia-occupied territories since the beginning of the military offensive, most notably from Kharkiv, Donestk and Odeska oblasts. In the past six months there have also been reports of children being sent to recreation camps. The issue of missing important documentation is also prominent with many in collective sites citing a requirement for legal assistance to acquire these documents. Mental health remains a significant issue in Ukraine for the most vulnerable groups - especially those displaced and living near areas closer to the line of contact. This is notably true for older people who might have limited mobility and therefore struggle to leave their homes.

Shelter: Unabated damage to residential properties continued in the months of August and September and many households still remain flooded after the Kakhovka dam breach. Communities living closer to the frontline continue to struggle with accessing safe and adequate housing. Nearly half of KIs in REACH’s household situation monitoring survey identified access to housing as one of their main concerns. This has been an issue for people living further away from the line of contact as well. For people with disabilities, unavailability or limited availability of adequate shelter has been reported as one of their biggest challenges. Additionally, findings from JMMI show that rental prices for one-bedroom apartments in Ukraine continued to rise through June and July 2023. The average rent for a one-room apartment was 43% higher than in January 2022. The top 3 largest increases were recorded in Zakarpatska, Lvivska and Ivano-Frankivska oblasts. This makes house repairs more unaffordable, and people are likely to stay in damaged shelters. Moreover, there is an anticipated increase in the supply, demand, and price of solid fuels as winter approaches. REACH’s MSNA data from August 2023 shows disruptions to electricity being reported from areas with active conflict. Also, collective sites across Ukraine have regularly identified various shelter needs and concerns with many centres lacking backup sources of power, alternate heating supplies and proper ventilation. In some areas, Some IDP households in collective sites fear eviction in the coming months despite having written agreements with centre management.

WASH: More than 3 months after the Khakhovka Dam breach, water shortages continue to be reported in areas around the Dnipro River, particularly in Khersonska Oblast. It impacts both the population's access to water, and to agriculture in the area. At the national level, the availability of water is generally fine. Overall, 98% of REACH MSNA respondents reported having sufficient drinking and cooking water, and 97%reported having sufficient water for personal hygiene and for other domestic purposes. Although the need for access to water remains minimal in frontline areas, it was reported as catastrophic in 8 settlements assessed by REACH. Access to sanitation facilities is also reported as adequate.
However, damage to such facilities in frontline areas and the lack of sanitation facilities in collective centres means limited access for a part of the population. MSNA data shows that the availability of hygiene NFIs responds to the population’s needs at the national level, although it is limited in the east. With the winter approaching, health risks similar to those faced during the last winter could impact the population, with a rise in waterborne diseases and an increase of WASH needs.

Education: According to government sources, a total of 3,793 educational institutions have been damaged, of which 365 have been completely destroyed since the beginning of the current conflict. Access to education remains limited as education facilities are being used to house IDPs and many schools still lack the necessary bomb shelters to resume face-to-face learning. Thereby, oblasts in the south and east are most heavily affected by the threat of airstrikes. Save the Children estimated that more than 40% of children in Ukraine were not able to go back to school full time when classes opened 1 September and had to rely on online or hybrid learning. Even though access to education has improved, most children in collective centres do not have access to technology that still limits their outlook to education. As many children are forced into remote learning, the lack of interaction with their peer group and inability to participate in extracurricular activities, in addition to the psychological impact of witnessing conflict events, is heavily impacting their well-being and ability to engage in education activities. Teachers are also facing challenges and stress.

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