Lviv – Internally displaced people often find themselves in a situation where the only things they could bring with them when fleeing are the bare essentials. However, as they endure longer displacement the need and desire to have access to personal belongings and a more profound sense of identity emerges.   

According to IOM, over 20% of internally displaced people are struggling to cover the essentials. 

A woman displaced from Southern Ukraine after her hometown was left without running water as a result of the destruction of the Kakhovka Dam. Photo: IOM/Daria Dovzhenko

“For five months I lived in a town that was under Russian control. And when the first opportunity came, I moved to Lviv region. But my husband stayed there. So, because of the war I have no home, and the only way I can communicate with my family is over brief phone calls,” says Svitlana, displaced from Zaporizhzhia region.  

After arriving in Lviv region, Svitlana, a teacher with a modest salary, needed to buy a laptop to continue working. The purchase depleted almost all of her savings. Now, struggling to cover basic necessities, the support of organizations like IOM is vital for people like Svitlana.  

After spending all her savings on a laptop to continue working as a teacher, Svitlana receives humanitarian support from IOM. Photo: IOM/Daria Dovzhenko

With one third of all displaced people in need of hygiene and other essential items, IOM supported more than 309,000 internally displaced people across Ukraine between May and August of this year in providing this critical assistance. More than 230,000 necessary supplies were distributed, including winterization kits, mattresses, chairs, blankets and kitchen sets.  These are crucial for those who have recently left their home and are just settling in a new place.  
IOM’s support also extends to internally displaced people like Liubov, originally from Fashchivka, Donetsk region, who recently fled to Chernivtsi.  

“Even if there isn't much room, we each have our own bed and a roof over our heads. So, we're not complaining. Now, that we have more mattresses, things will be more comfortable,” says Liubov. 

Lyubov used to live in a village near Debaltseve, an area of active fighting. Her daughter is attending a university in Kharkiv remotely, relying on stable internet for her online studies. The family had to make a difficult trip into Ukrainian Government-controlled territory for her to be able to continue her studies.

Liubov fled Donetsk region and now lives in a collective centre in Chernivtsi. Photo: IOM/Daria Dovzhenko

The situation is even more critical in Kharkiv and Donetsk regions, where access is limited even for humanitarian organizations.   

“During our surveys in small communities of Donetsk and Kharkiv regions, war-affected people reported that most of their families consist of elderly people, who are reluctant to evacuate from these areas. This vulnerable group of people always require more specialized care, hygiene items, bedding kits, medicines and other materials,” says Anhar Al-Rujaee, an IOM Project Officer.  

IOM team delivered non-food items to more than 309,000 internally displaced people across Ukraine between May and August 2023. Photo: IOM/Daria Dovzhenko

Despite the challenges, IOM is committed to supporting those affected by the war even in remote and hard to reach areas in order to provide them with the essential items they need. This assistance is being made possible with the generous assistance of IOM’s partners.

SDG 1 - No Poverty