Story
13 Jul 2022
By: Maksym Petrov

From the very beginning of the full-scale war, Chernivtsi Region, similar to other western regions of the country, hosted tens of thousands of internally displaced persons (IDPs), providing them with a temporary roof over their heads. To support displaced people and local communities, the International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mission in Ukraine, opened a regional hub in Chernivtsi  that coordinates the delivery of humanitarian assistance.
During four months, IOM provided support to 40 centres for IDPs, sometimes helping displaced persons to set up their daily lives from scratch.

In close cooperation with the local authorities and the administration of institutions hosting IDPs, IOM provides blankets, mattresses, kitchen sets and hygiene kits, as these remain the necessities that are usually lacking for people who fled the war bringing only documents and a few personal belongings.

“I left Kharkiv in my pajamas”

Together with her husband and a little daughter, Yuliia spent 18 days hiding from shelling in a basement in their home city Kharkiv. They did not want to leave until the last moment.

“I heard an air siren going off and, as usual, we run to the basement. My husband held our child in his arms, and then we felt the shock wave. It was so loud and scary as never before... We left wearing the same clothes — I was in my pajamas. We took only some documents with us”.

Yuliia and her family found a temporary home in Chernivtsi after fleeing their hometown Kharkiv. IOM/Maksym Petrov

Yuliia's family found shelter in one of the dormitories in Chernivtsi, where over 60 other displaced people live. They were provided with a separate room, however, mattresses and blankets were very old and there was not enough dishware for the entire family. Yuliia could not allocate funds to buy new items and create more comfortable living conditions. Therefore, the assistance provided by IOM was significant support for the family.

Long way to salvation from war

For Eduard, Chernivtsi was the third stop on his way to flee intense hostilities in his native Volnovakha in Donetsk Region. First, he reached Dnipro, and then Lviv. However, the IDP accommodation centres in both cities were overcrowded, so Eduard decided to travel further. In Chernivtsi, he initially stayed in school premises, however, the administration started preparing the building for the new academic year, so he had to look for a new roof over his head again.

Finally, the man found shelter in the IDPs centre based in a dormitory of the College for Economics and Law. IOM provided Eduard with a mattress and a set of dishware, which he was especially happy about. Eduard is a chef, and now he will have the necessary equipment to independently cook healthy meals.
 

Eduard from Volnovakha changed three locations before finding accommodation in the centre for IDPs in Chernivtsi. IOM/Maksym Petrov.

“I could not afford to buy dishware”

Lesia, a displaced person from Kyiv, is still haunted by memories of the first days of the war when she had to stay in a bomb shelter during air raids. Even in these worrying conditions, the teacher of the Ukrainian-American University did not stop working. However, in the end, the family decided to move to Chernivtsi and now lives in a dormitory.
“We did not have our own dishware. I could hardly get the money to buy a small pot. Now, I will be able to cook for my closed ones, as the kitchen set which we received from IOM includes everything I need.”

With a kitchen set from IOM, Lesia will be able to cook meals for her family. IOM/Maksym Petrov

Despite the significant amount of humanitarian aid provided by IOM and other organizations, the need for non-food items remains extremely high among the displaced population. According to the latest IOM report, every third displaced person (27%) needs basic necessities, in particular, blankets, mattresses, washing machines or kitchen sets.

SDG 1 - No Poverty
SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
SDG 16 - Peace Justice and Strong Institutions