The conflict in Ukraine has forced thousands of people to flee their homes and seek refuge elsewhere. In connection with the current situation, the government of Ukraine is carrying out coordination work, providing social support and protection, medical assistance, social and psychological rehabilitation. IDPs receive assistance primarily from local authorities and public organizations. There is an urgent need to continue to address issues related to housing, provision of food, hygiene, clothing, employment assistance, as well as informing and consulting on possible assistance to IDPs and legal assistance, in particular in the restoration and processing of documents.
How difficult it is today in Ukraine to obtain refugee and migrant status. Obtaining the status of an internally displaced person is not difficult. The entire procedure can be done in one day by contacting the Department of Social Protection of the Population at the place of actual residence. There they issue a certificate, which is asked to be certified by the State Migration Service (SMS). Recently, the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine adopted amendments to the legislation, according to which there was no need to register the IDP certificate with the SMS. But in practice, the following happened: in the departments of social protection, referring to the decree of the Cabinet of Ministers, they require a stamp from the Migration Service, and in the SMS they appeal to a change in the legislation and refuse to put down the appropriate stamp.
In EU countries, refugees are provided with temporary free housing, health insurance, and monthly cash payments of about 300 euros. They are also guaranteed the right to formal employment and other benefits. Ukrainian legislation also provides for assistance for refugees "for the purchase of essential goods", although it is one-time and is provided only after obtaining the appropriate status. It is 17 hryvnia for adults and 10.2 hryvnia for children. This assistance is issued in two parts: half within five days after the relevant decision is made, the rest - within 10 days after moving to a permanent place of residence. True, to get it, you need to "visit" more than one state office and spend many hours, or even days and weeks. For various reasons, many IDPs are reluctant to register.
The experience of violence and the awareness of an imminent threat are the main reasons that forced people to leave their homes. Keeping children safe from traumatic events and deteriorating living conditions was another factor for moving. People took with them only the most necessary things in the hope of returning when the security situation returned to normal, the reconstruction of damaged infrastructure and buildings would begin, and the provision of housing and communal services to the population would resume.
One of the cities where many families moved is Bakhmut (before renaming - Artemovsk, Donetsk region). The war made the Bakhmut area not the most pleasant place on the map of the region, since it is located thirty kilometres from the demarcation line. This is a front-line city, where displaced people live, which affected the life of the city itself. After the outbreak of the conflict, the social situation in Bakhmut changed significantly. With an increase in the population due to the influx of internally displaced persons, the load on infrastructure facilities such as medicine, education, road communications, water and electricity supply, the work of social services and government agencies has significantly increased.
The aftermath of the armed conflict continues to be borne by internally displaced persons and residents of isolated communities along the contact line in Donbas. The difficulties they face are exacerbated by a lack of access to basic services and social support, a lack of adequate housing and a lack of legal remedies.
As a result of hostilities, the population declined. Residents are forced to adapt to life in the war zone. People continue to live in half ruined houses with leaking roofs, often without electricity or heating. They have nowhere to go, after the outbreak of the conflict housing rent in neighboring cities has risen sharply. People need humanitarian aid, especially medicine. The main concerns are related to children, their health and safety. War, poverty, unemployment and instability increase the vulnerability of the population and negatively affect the quality of their life. There is a difficult situation in the rural areas of the Bakhmut region. The impact of the conflict is felt most acutely in areas close to the "contact line".
The village of Andreevka, Bakhmut district, Donetsk region is located in a 10-kilometer zone from the demarcation line. In this village there is no post office, first-aid station, kindergarten, school, library, shop, and there is no bus service with the city, and most importantly, there is no work. The electric train runs 2-3 times a day. The entire working-age population leaves early in the morning for work in Bakhmut, and comes home late in the evening, so young children mostly stay at home with their grandmothers or mothers. The Rusetsky family is no exception. Mother - Elena Rusetskaya (03.01.1983), father - Denis Rusetsky (13.06.1983), son - Eugene (28.06.2017), they live at the address: Perezhnaya street, house 29. The family cannot afford to fully cover needs of their child. The family would be happy to receive any help.
In the same village Andreevka, in a neighboring house, the family of Natalia Veremeenko lives (14.03.1999). She is a single mother who brings up her son Nikita (13.10.2017) and lives with her father Sergei Veremeenko (14.12.1966), who has second group of disability person (their residence address: Andreevka village, Perezdnaya street, 24). Their house has stove heating, no gas. The child and his mother stay at home, they do not receive any state allowance or any extra aid, they have vegetable garden and live only on the grandfather's pension, which is 1’769 UAH per month. The family is in dire need of food, personal hygiene products, clothing and solid fuel to heat the house.
Valentina Lidkovets (25.02.1935), a displaced person from the city of Gorlovka. At the moment she lives in Andreevka village on Perezdnaya street, house 12. The house roof is leaking, there are no proper living conditions. The pension is not enough to repair the house, buy medicines, food, personal hygiene products, and solid fuel. She would be very grateful for any possible help.
The large family of Tatyana Karpenko (11.09.1996), a single mother with 2 children: daughter Anastasia (17.02.2017) and Elizaveta (30.07.2020) live in the village of Kleshcheevka, 62 Pervomayskaya street. They live only on the allowance of a single mother, the family survives only thanks to a small vegetable garden, in the house there is stove heating. The family will be very grateful for any help.
A young mother, Ekaterina Zadorozhnaya (09.03.2000), lives in a small house in the village of Kleshcheevka on 35 Tavrichanskaya street, brings up her son Oleg, born in 2020. They live together with her mother Inna Shistka (26.01.1967). The family lives on a mother's pension and a child allowance. The house has stove heating, there is no gas in the village. There are not enough money to buy good nutrition for the child and clothes, and also to buy vital solid fuel and food. The family will be grateful for any help.
Photos and material were prepared by the curator of work in this region - Nadia Opalyuk. She met with the vulnerable families to find out their needs and concerns. All families have kindly agreed to post their details, information and photos.
We are grateful for cooperation and assistance, and in the future we plan and will try to help internally displaced persons and attract sponsors and patrons to this activity.