Shelter Cluster Winterization Recommendations_2022/2023
In Ukraine the cold season is long and harsh and winterisation has always been a central component of the humanitarian assistance. In the last years, while the response to the previous phase of the conflict was already gradually moving towards recovery, winterisation assistance did reduce its scope, but was still indicated by the Shelter Cluster as a “lifesaving activity”. With the new phase of the conflict and the change of its scale and impact - mass displacement, extensive damage to residential premises and civilian infrastructure, loss of livelihoods and disruption to supply chains - an estimated 15.7 million Ukrainians are in need of humanitarian assistance.
The coming winter will affect all population groups: IDPs (internally displaced persons), non-displaced, returnees and host communities. IDPs live in collective sites (reception, transit and collective centres) often not prepared for hosting people and often in need of ordinary and extra-ordinary maintenance; IDPs are also often hosted in or rent private houses that - as most of the housing stock in Ukraine - have poor insulation. Also returnees and non-displaced people’s houses have in many cases just basic insulation; their inadequacy to effectively face the cold season is often amplified by conflict-related damages - leaking roofs, broken windows, cracked or collapsed perimetral walls - that jeopardize the thermal envelope function of houses.
Damages or simple lack of maintenance have affected also the heating systems of collective sites and individual houses and apartments: every component of it - water heaters, electricity grids and gas and hot water main lines, as well as internal pipes, radiators and stoves - need to be reactivated, repaired or replaced. Portable heating appliances need to be provided where the heating system does not exist or cannot be restored. Solid fuel and stoves need to be supplied as well, even in-kind where coal or firewood markets are no longer accessible or regular suppliers refuse to go. Even families in accommodations served by functioning heating systems will face the problem of paying for heating: having lost their income and exhausting their savings paying for their accommodation in displacement, many will simply not be able to afford the utility bills.
Personal insulation - warm winter clothes, thermal underwear, blankets, quilts - will need to be provided in-kind or through winterisation cash to displaced, returnees and all conflict-affected who lost their belongings, cannot access markets or afford the purchase of essential winter items.
After a first phase of humanitarian assistance focussed on a fast coverage of the most immediate needs of displaced and non-displaced population, humanitarian agencies in Ukraine have now started to plan well in advance the winterisation response, aware - also from the experience developed in the past - that winterisation activities and procurement chains will require time and financial resources.
The Government of Ukraine is leading preparation and implementation of winterisation activities, while humanitarian agencies will play, also in this component, a complementary role.