1. NRC closes shelter assistance
2. COVID-related restrictions were introduced
3. SESU has continued repairing houses damaged by the conflict in Donetsk oblast GCA, while in Luhansk oblast the Shelter Cluster still advocates for the government to activate SESU’s repair activities
4. New damages to residential buildings were recorded
5. The Shelter/NFI Cluster has analyzed the humanitarian referrals
6. In June 2020, heavy rainfalls and flooding affected the western Ukraine
New damages to residential buildings. With the help of partners, namely INSO, OSCE and UNDSS, the Shelter/NFI Cluster continued to track damages to residential premises. The trend observed in the first half of the year marks an increase of cases: a total of 491 new damages, compared to 411 in the same period in 2019. April and May registered the peaks with 135 and 125 incidents respectively, while June marked the lowest number of cases, namely 36. The hotspots throughout these first 6 months were Staromykhailivka, Donetsk, Horlivka, and Zolote. Similar to trends in previous years, Donetsk oblast has 73.7% of all the damages, while Luhansk oblast has 26.24%. In 2020, the Cluster team started to analyze in detail the object and the type of damage. Based on the evidence collected by partners: glazing and roofing (falling under light and medium type of damages) remain the most frequent recorded cases; apart from private houses, outbuildings remain also a frequent target. As in previous years, the peaks in the number of incidents took place in the middle of spring - beginning of summer. As there were no major political developments in June 2020 except the reopening of EECPs during the adaptive quarantine, it is hard to explain the reason for such a significant drop in the number compared to the previous months.
Humanitarian referrals. The Shelter/NFI Cluster receives humanitarian referrals from various sources, in particular from other UN agencies, NGOs, INGOs, charity organizations, state and local authorities, other Clusters, OSCE SMM, through OCHA, and during field visits and meetings. In the first half of 2020, the Cluster received 52 referrals: most of them relate to the repair of buildings (63.4 %) or to winterization assistance (26.9 %). Most of the requests, that are not related to aforementioned categories, come from people not living in the eastern-conflict area. These requests concern IDP families (mostly residing in Kyiv or Kharkiv) who wish to enhance living conditions in their temporary accommodations. Another typical case of referral to the Shelter Cluster is represented by IDP families in need of support in paying rents. There are only five (5) cases of this type that the Cluster received during the reporting period. These referrals are not common and require the individual assessment due to specific type of a requested assistance. The highest number of referrals comes from INGO “ADRA”, with 38 cases. While ADRA no longer has Shelter activities in 2020, it has a well-established hotline unit that serves as a hub for referrals. It records cases and disseminates them further to Clusters. The small number of referrals from state actors (7 cases in the chart) could potentially be higher, as all local administrations keep record of requests from people in their area of responsibility. As an example, only in Popasna city, in Luhansk oblast, there are some 120 requests collected by the local administration, all of them related to winterization assistance).
State Emergency Service of Ukraine. SESU has continued repairing houses damaged by the conflict in Donetsk oblast GCA, while in Luhansk oblast the Shelter Cluster still advocates for the government to activate SESU’s repair activities. Regardless of the delayed start of the program due to COVID-related restrictive measures, at the end of the second quarter SESU has completed the repair of 195 buildings - out of a target of 1,000 - with 39 more currently in progress. The main efforts are focused in Mariinka, Krasnohorivka, and Yasynuvata raions. While in 2019 the SESU brigades tried to include in their interventions the repair of interiors, this year they returned to covering only roofs and glazing. In order to advertise their activities, SESU created a promo video illustrating the process of repairs as well as how precaution measures are ensured during the interventions.
Gaps / challenges
NRC closes shelter assistance. With the end of June, NRC has completed its shelter program in Ukraine. Since 2015, NRC - both as a standalone agency and in partnership - provided shelter assistance to 9,211 conflict-affected families, through the repair of 6,225 buildings. NRC’s press release on the finalization of the shelter program can be found here. In government-controlled areas, in addition to SESU (the State Emergency Service of Ukraine, operating only in Donetsk oblast), only two international agencies are still active in the sector: UNCHR (who will close their program as well, at the end of this year) and ICRC. Both agencies have a limited target, that will leave some 1,000 families without assistance.
COVID-related restrictions. Measures to reduce the risk of infection were introduced in Ukraine from 16 March until the 26th May. Restrictions imposed on movements and overall operations have delayed the start of shelter activities planned for 2020. In reaction to COVID-19, the Shelter/NFI Cluster in Ukraine developed two advocacy documents that provide guidance on possible activities in the sector to mitigate the consequences of the disease. Even though the restrictive measures were not lifted after 26 May, humanitarian agencies and SESU resumed their activities to deliver assistance.
Non-conflict related disasters. Between 22-24 June 2020, heavy rainfalls and flooding affected the Western part of Ukraine. Based on initial reports from the SESU:
· 277 settlements have been flooded and many remain without electricity;
· 9,994 dwellings flooded;
· 13 objects of social infrastructure destroyed (schools, hospitals, etc.) not including 172 destroyed/damaged bridges and over 500 km of destroyed/damaged roads;
· 3,390 infields and 8,601 hectares of agricultural lands have been flooded;
· Number of settlements without electricity and clean water supply are to be determined.
In response to this disaster, IFRC has launched an Emergency Plan to support the Government of Ukraine’s response capacities. The plan is available online through this link here. Moreover, OCHA organized a multisectoral assessment mission to Ivano-Frankivsk. Among the findings of the mission, there is a conclusion that there was no need for a large-scale international emergency humanitarian response assuming that the government would continue its efforts in addressing the immediate and long-term needs - with support of the operational partners already on the ground.