Published: Mar 28, 2022 Reading time: 3 minutes

Ten million Ukrainians have fled their homes due to the Russian invasion. 3.6 million people have fled Ukraine for neighbouring countries, according to the UNHCR. An additional 6.5 million people remain displaced within Ukraine. People in Need has delivered hundreds of sets of bedding and cooking equipment to collective centres in western Ukraine. We continue to deliver water, food, and hygiene items to tens of thousands of people in eastern Ukraine.

According to a recent survey by the IOM, 1.9 million internally displaced people (IDP), within Ukraine, are from Kyiv—this is nearly 30% of the total IDP population. A further 2.3 million people, nearly 36% of the IDP population, are from the east of the country. Almost 40% of IDPs, altogether 2.5 million people, fled to western Ukraine.

Svitlana and Liuda fled from Kharkiv to Truskavets in western Ukraine. Svitlana describes the long road to safety: "We drove for five difficult days. People were providing us with accommodation on the way. All were supportive. Near Ternopil and in Uman, we spent the night. We stopped in kindergartens and schools. We were provided with medicines, some food, including for children, clothes. And when we came here - we felt at home,"

Dasha fled from Kharkiv to Lviv. "We arrived here escaping the shelling on the 5th of March. I realised that I was with my child, a grandmother and a dog in this basement. Then I checked the weather forecast, and I saw that frosts were approaching. In the basement, we would either get sick, and this would not be good, or we simply would be overwhelmed. It was not safe to remain there," says Dasha. "A man helped us get to the subway. There was a metro station not far from us. It takes 15 minutes to walk to get there. We walked through the snow and under fire," she describes how her family hid in the metro station. And how they finally fled to Lviv by train.

With the influx of hundreds of thousands of displaced people in western Ukraine, it is almost impossible to find accommodation. Petr Drbohlav, Regional Director for the Eastern Partnership and the Balkans, notes that "For tens of thousands of people the only solution is to find a place to sleep in a collective centre, typically old sanatoriums, schools or old colleges.” Some people stay at the collective centres for just 2 or 3 days before continuing on to neighbouring countries. However, many stay, and are waiting to go home when the security situation allows it.

The People in Need team in western Ukraine identified tens of such locations, and we have begun delivering essential equipment this week. For example, 200 mattresses, bedsheets, duvets, pillows and towels, along with 50 kitchen sets and 100 electric kettles, were delivered to a collective centre in Truskavets in Lviv oblast. Another 500 mattresses, blankets, bedsheets, towels and pillows and 50 kitchen sets, and kettles were delivered to the collective centre in Morshyn. In the coming days, People in Need will distribute equipment to 5 more collective centres. Altogether thousands of vulnerable people will benefit.

"Representatives of the humanitarian organisation of the Czech Republic arrived. They wanted to assess exactly what we need. They offered to establish better conditions because everything here - mattresses, pillows, blankets - were provided by kind local people, from the city," says Natalia Ponomarenko, head of the humanitarian hub in Truskavets City Council. "Now, after a week has passed, the first truck arrived and brought us everything new, everything clean," she says in front of the former dairy, which has been transformed into one of 8 shelters in the city.

Author: People in Need