UNHCR, The UN Refugee Agency, is a global inter-governmental organization dedicated to saving lives, protecting rights, and building a better future for refugees, forcibly displaced communities, and stateless persons.

The UN Refugee Agency has been present in Ukraine since 1994, when the Agency supported the repatriation of Crimean Tatars, and concluded a Host Country Agreement with the Government of Ukraine in 1996. In line with its mandate, UNHCR provides protection services and assistance to help refugees, internally displaced persons (IDPs), returnees, war-affected and stateless people access their rights and essential services and find sustainable solutions.

In 2014, UNHCR scaled-up its presence in eastern Ukraine to provide humanitarian services and assistance to people impacted by the war. Following the full-scale invasion by the Russian Federation in February 2022, UNHCR has further expanded its operation and is now present in several locations across the country.

Since the beginning of the full-scale invasion, UNHCR has been supporting and complementing the response led by the Ukrainian Government and regional and local authorities, in the following areas:

  • UNHCR provides social protection services and psychosocial support to people traumatized by the war. With free legal aid, the organization helps people restore lost or damaged documents, which often are vital to access services or apply for compensation.
  • Through its shelter and house repair programme, UNHCR delivers emergency shelter materials after attacks to help repair immediate damages to homes and vital infrastructure. It also provides durable repairs to damaged houses and multistorey apartment buildings, so families are able to remain or return to their homes.
  • UNHCR helps people cover their basic needs through distribution of essential aid items or provision of cash assistance, which allows people to prioritize themselves their most pressing needs, while supporting the local economy.

In 2022, UNHCR reached 4.32 million people across Ukraine with these forms of assistance and support and in 2023, 2.63 million people were reached with the same.  The aim is to reach another 2.7 million displaced and other war-affected people in Ukraine with protection and humaniatrian assistance in 2024.

Globally, and in Ukraine, a priority for UNHCR is to support displaced people’s ability to find a durable solution to their situation. This includes supporting IDPs who have no prospects of returning anytime soon to integrate and build a new life in host communities. It also includes support to refugees and IDPs who would like to return to their homes to do so in a safe, dignified and sustainable way.

UNHCR regularly conducts Intention Surveys among Ukrainian IDPs and refugees from Ukraine who live in European countries. The latest surveys were published in February 2024 and find that the majority of IDPs and refugees from Ukraine wish, and ultimately intend, to return home, and that the main obstacle to their ability to do so now is safety and security. Other key obstacles are access to adequate housing, basic services and jobs.

In Mykolaivska oblast specifically, UNHCR is providing assistance and support to people in cooperation with its NGO partners Desiate Kvitnya (Tenth of April), Charitable Fund Right to Protection, Caritas Ukraine and Charity Foundation Stabilization Support Services. The support includes psychosocial assistance and legal aid, as well as distribution of emergency shelter materials and durable house repairs of damaged homes. UNHCR also distributes cash assistance, work on protection activities such as social assistance, child protection and prevention of Gender-Based Violence. During the harsh winter months, UNHCR prioritizes additional winter assistance such as installation of heaters, distribution of blankets and home insulation kits.

In 2022, UNHCR reached close to 66,000 people with assistance in Mykolaivska oblast, and in 2023 UNHCR reached almost 114,000 people in the oblast with different types of support.

Related reports

UNHCR aid utilization report for 2022

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