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Kramatorsk – Temperatures have started plummeting in eastern Ukraine, once again imperiling hundreds of thousands of forgotten people affected by the conflict largely forgotten by the world.  

In government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, in settlements close to the contact line separating two conflicting sides, 70,000 people are effectively marooned. Over 40 per cent of them are elderly, and 13 per cent of the families residing in these areas have a member with a disability.   

Take 82-year-old Vira Semenivna. She, her son Ivan and great-grandson Yaroslav live in a village 70 kilometres from Donetsk. Yaroslav’s parents left the village in search for employment, and now the boy gives purpose to both Vira and Ivan.  

“It is good to see that elderly people are not completely abandoned,” said Ivan as IOM delivered coal to heat their house.    

This winter IOM is striving to provide humanitarian assistance to over 40,000 vulnerable conflict-affected people like Vira and her family, on both sides of the contact line.  

Over 12,000 people in the non-government-controlled areas of Donetsk and Luhansk regions will get enough coal to keep their homes heated to a tolerable 18 °C when it is minus 20 °C outside. On the open market, that would cost them USD 119, way beyond the reach of most vulnerable households, whose monthly income is a maximum of USD 77. 

Another 6,000 people in non-government-controlled areas will receive winter kits that include warm blankets, bed linen, pillows and towels. One thousand households in the remote areas without access to gas will get electric heaters. 

IOM will also conduct rehabilitation works at over 30 centres for the elderly, people with disabilities, hospitals and other institutions in the non-government-controlled areas to improve insulation, roofing and heating, sanitation and water supply systems.  

Two thousand people with disabilities, the elderly, single parents and families with three and more children close to the contact line in government-controlled areas will be given cash assistance equivalent to USD 40 per month for three months. This will allow them to buy winter clothing, footwear, hygiene items, medicine and food, or pay for heating and utilities.  

“IOM is a first-line provider of support to those most deeply affected by the crisis both sides of the contact line,” said Anh Nguyen, Chief of Mission at IOM Ukraine. 

Since the outbreak of the conflict in 2014, we have provided humanitarian aid to over 160,000 people in eastern Ukraine, and we are committed to continue our life-saving operations. The needs are, quite simply, dire,” continued Nguyen. 

IOM’s interventions are funded by the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid, the U.S. Department of State Bureau on Population, Refugees, and Migration, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and by the UN Central Emergency Response Fund.   

For more information, please contact Varvara Zhluktenko at IOM Ukraine, Tel: +38 044 568 50 15 or +38 067 447 97 92, Email: [email protected] 

Source of original article: International Organization for Migration (
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