Thursday, 21 July, marks 148 days since Russia’s armed forces invaded Ukraine on 24 February 2022. The Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCR) reports that there have been over 11,500 civilian casualties since the start of the war, with over 5,020 civilian deaths, including 300 children, although the actual number of civilian casualties is likely much higher. Major attacks continue to be reported across the country, resulting in widespread infrastructure destruction, loss of life, and displacement. Fighting has remained concentrated in Eastern Ukraine, particularly in the Donbas region, where clashes, shelling, and strikes have occurred in some areas. A strike on Chasiv Yar in the Government-controlled part of eastern Donetsk oblast this week hit an apartment block killing 34 people, making it the second deadliest strike since the beginning of the war. According to local authorities, several residential buildings, a shopping center, and other civilian buildings were struck in the eastern city of Kharkiv on 11 July, resulting in more than 35 civilian casualties. On 14 July, three strikes hit the city of Vinnytsia, killing 23 persons, including three children. This area is a civilian zone and contains an IOM office. A key emerging concern is the preparation for winter months, when temperatures are expected to drop as low as -20 degrees Celsius in parts of Ukraine and neighboring countries, which could have disastrous consequences for those without adequate insulation and heating. Millions of Ukrainians are facing vulnerable circumstances due to loss of employment and livelihoods while also living in damaged houses or buildings ill-suited for long and harsh winter conditions. It is estimated that there are 44 million sqm of damaged housing, with a current damage estimate of more than $39 billion for the housing sector nationally. In addition, increased security risks have made the delivery of solid fuel to insecure areas intermittent or impossible. Particular vulnerability is present in Kharkivska, Sumska, Zhytomyrska and Kyivska oblasts due to extensive damage to energy and heating infrastructure (OCHA, and Kyiv School of Economics). Early planning is underway to mitigate the severe effects of the cold and to provide warm and safe conditions for all, particularly those who have been displaced by the war. IOM is particularly concerned about the ongoing situation of third country nationals (TCNs), who have yet to receive, or are no longer receiving, substantive protection in countries neighboring Ukraine, but who face unique livelihood and protection risks. TCNs who had been residing in Ukraine with temporary residence permits for work or studies are finding it increasingly difficult to obtain or maintain their status in the EU in neighboring countries, and are in some cases losing that status. Even with potential options to voluntarily return to their country of origin, including those provided by IOM, a lack or loss of protection for TCNs may lead to future irregular migration and increased vulnerability risks, including in their countries of origin.
IOM continues to expand its support for internally displaced persons in need of direct medical care. Over the last two weeks, in partnership with Sheptystsky Hospital and UK-Med, IOM provided primary healthcare services to 2,642 internally displaced persons and host communities in four oblasts in Ukraine, bringing the total number of beneficiaries receiving direct medical attention to 15,567 persons (6,129 men and 9,374 women) since the start of the war. As part of its health response, IOM physicians conduct pre-embarkation health checks (PEC) for persons transiting the humanitarian Green Corridor between Moldova and Romania and those departing on IOM facilitated flights. Since 24 February, IOM has conducted 11,346 PECs and provided stabilization treatment to 316 persons in Moldova prior to transport. In addition, IOM teams in Ukraine and Moldova are continuing to assist with the transportation and support of medically vulnerable cases to European countries through the TRANSMED initiative.
As the need for mid - to long-term solutions for refugees in host countries rises, IOM is working at different levels to address longer term livelihoods and inclusion needs, such as access to employment opportunities. In Romania, IOM has been expanding its presence and capacity and is now supporting refugees through seven Migrant Integration Centers (MICs) in major cities across the country. MICs have a key role in providing information on employment pathways, support with health and education registration, language courses, counselling, and other tailored assistance. To date, over 550 Ukrainians are registered with the centers, with close to 100 persons regularly attending language courses. In Greece, on 13 July, IOM and the Ministry of Migration and Asylum, in collaboration with the Embassy of Ukraine in Greece, announced the inclusion of Ukrainian nationals in the IOM HELIOS project, a successful initiative developed by IOM that has been supporting refugees’ integration through a coordinated approach addressing needs and inclusion opportunities.
IOM seeks to increase the ability of people to meet their immediate, basic needs in a way that is most suited to their preferences. IOM continues to provide conflict-affected persons with multi-purpose cash assistance (MPCA) across Ukraine, with 125,954 displaced people and host community members registered and 83,829 assisted to date. IOM Ukraine recently paused registrations and distributions due to funding constraints, however, operations will resume in the upcoming days for MPCA, cash, and vouchers covering winterization, rent, and shelter rehabilitation. IOM Ukraine is fundraising to scale up MPCA and sectorial cash and voucher assistance to support affected populations. IOM also continues to provide MPCA and sectoral cash assistance to persons in neighboring countries. In Moldova, IOM has assisted 3,427 refugees, TCNs, and host families with vouchers to cover basic needs, with similar operations in Belarus and Ireland. In Slovakia, IOM provides targeted assistance to caregivers of Ukrainian adults living with disabilities, while IOM recently started providing MPCA in Poland, Bulgaria, and Romania.
Across 111 locations, IOM deploys trained psychosocial mobile teams that are linguistically and culturally capable of serving vulnerable refugees and third country nationals. In Ukraine, IOM provided psychological support to 1,538 persons during the reporting period, with MHPSS support provided to 3,065 persons (1,340 men and 1,726 women) since the start of the war. In Poland, four Psychosocial Mobile Teams working in eight longterm stay centers in Warsaw have been providing direct assistance to residents. From 4-17 July, IOM Poland provided psychological first aid (PFA), individual psychosocial counselling, group sessions, social counselling, and community engagement activities to a total of 675 adults and 89 children, supporting a total of 8,605 persons through MHPSS interventions since April. During the reporting period, across Moldova, Hungary, Romania, Belarus, and Slovakia, IOM provided counselling services to 541 adults and socio-relational support to 640 children.
IOM provides temporary shelter assistance to affected populations in Ukraine and neighboring countries. In Ukraine, IOM’s mobile repair teams have completed light and medium repairs, including on WASH infrastructure, on two collective centers this week, with ongoing renovations in nine centers in Dnipro and Zakarpattia. Technical assessments to support further programming continue alongside distributions of nonfood items, including cots, blankets, and kitchen sets, across 24 regions. Meanwhile, IOM continues to provide shelter solutions to displaced Ukrainians in neighboring countries. For example, in Romania, 850 persons have benefited from short-term accommodation through Airbnb while in Hungary, 150 persons have received medium-term housing through IOM managed accommodation. IOM also provides shelter support to TCNs affected by the conflict. Since 5 April, 1,109 persons, including 246 TCNs, have been matched with cost-free accommodation across Poland. In total, through its partnership with Airbnb, IOM has provided 71,902 safe nights to persons across Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. In close coordination with national authorities, IOM supports border agencies in effectively responding to changing mobility trends to facilitate safe and inclusive cross border movements. During the reporting period, IOM in Moldova conducted monitoring visits to five border control points with Customs Service representatives and delivered 42 personal computer workstations to the General Inspectorate for Emergency Situations to facilitate a rights-based approach to data collection and registration of vulnerable Ukrainian refugees and TCNs. Since the start of the conflict, IOM’s humanitarian movement assistance has expanded to include movement activities aimed at decongesting border areas. IOM continues to support the humanitarian Green Corridor between Palanca, Moldova and Husi, Romania to alleviate traffic at border control points. To date, a total of 11,489 persons have been transported through the Green Corridor in coordination with UNHCR and local authorities. IOM also organizes and facilitates charter flights from Moldova and Poland to requesting European countries for vulnerable refugees and TCNs. To date, a total of 1,727 persons have been transferred by air and train by IOM, in coordination with UNHCR, to Austria, Germany, France, Spain, Switzerland, Netherlands, Italy, Ireland, Portugal, and Norway.
In neighboring countries, IOM continues to provide hygiene kits and water to affected populations in collective centers and to partners. Since the start of the conflict, IOM Romania has distributed 33,019 WASH items to refugees across Romania while in Poland, IOM has distributed 14,378 WASH items, including hygiene kits and water, to conflict-affected persons since the start of the war. In the past week, IOM in Ukraine has carried out 18 WASH assessments in Dnipropetrovsk and Zakarpattia to support collective centers with the installation of water treatment units and repair small water supply and sanitation systems. In addition, IOM distributed 36 washing and drying machines to collective centers in Uzhhorod, covering the needs of more than 4,000 people.
Responding to increased vulnerabilities and protection risks faced by conflict-affected persons, IOM’s protection portfolio spans the provision of direct service delivery, assessments and referrals, capacity building, and case management, as well as public information and awareness raising. Since the start of the war, IOM has provided general and specialized protection assistance for 16,367 persons in Ukraine. To disseminate information on counter-trafficking and provide legal counseling to refugees and TCNs, IOM operates hotlines in Ukraine, Poland, Romania, Moldova, Lithuania, Slovakia, Belarus, Czechia, and Hungary. To date, IOM Ukraine has provided 74,852 consultations through its national toll-free migrant advice and counter-trafficking hotlines, which now also provides consultations in Arabic. In Slovakia, IOM staff are present at information points at two highly transited border crossing points and three primary reception centers to assist crisisaffected people. The mission also maintains a hotline and website through its Migration Information Center (MIC) to provide information and legal counselling, providing support to 3,289 Ukrainians and 2,837 TCNs since the start of the war. As of 18 July, the MIC website had recorded 343,152 users and 948,665 page views. In countries where access to the border is limited, such as Belarus, IOM has set up several direct referral pathways to locate refugees and third country nationals, identify their needs, refer them for assistance, and provide support. Thus far, IOM in Belarus has assessed and provided emergency NFI, food, WASH, and protection assistance to 626 refugees referred by government and civil society institutions. Since the activation of the TPD in March 2022 and related national legislation to support access to social services for refugees and vulnerable TCNs, IOM has provided direct case management support and assistance with registration when requested by respective governments. In Ireland, IOM continues to provide assistance to refugees and TCNs entering the country through five points of entry. The mission assists refugees in completing social security forms and provides interpretation and referrals for national child protection services (TULSA) and the Health Service Executive. Since the start of the war, IOM has supported 44,577 persons with the issuance of TPD documents. As the available support for displaced Ukrainians expands, IOM is scaling up information campaigns on TPD registration and available services. In Romania, to date, IOM’s mobile team has organized a total of 17 information sessions reaching 697 Ukrainians in collective centers, with an additional six sessions specifically for government actors, IOM staff, and other service providers on TPD obligations. In coordination with local authorities and NGO partners, IOM also provides rapid vulnerability screening assessments in collective centers and shelters organized by local municipalities. In Hungary, IOM screens refugees and TCNs and refers vulnerable persons for tailored assistance. Since the start of the war, IOM has assisted almost 5,412 persons through information provision and referrals in Hungary. IOM also provides direct support to TCNs and assists with strengthening the capacity of humanitarian partners to identify protection risks and the needs of TCNs. In Ukraine, IOM has provided information, advice, referrals, and assistance to approximately 3,500 TCNs to date, while 938 TCNs have received voluntary return assistance across neighboring countries.
Over 287,000 third country nationals (TCNs), persons who are neither Ukrainian nor EU citizens, have fled Ukraine since the start of the war.1 Many TCNs have found themselves stranded, either inside Ukraine or in surrounding countries, and facing extremely vulnerable situations due to limited local language abilities, lack of identity documents, discrimination, and a lack of institutional assistance. Most TCNs are not eligible for assistance under the Temporary Protection Directive (TPD) for Ukrainians in EU countries, as it only applies to TCNs who either enjoyed international protection in Ukraine or had permanent residency. Even in cases where national protection schemes do apply, some countries have begun to rescind national protection legislation or apply protection unevenly. In addition, many TCNs have reported experiencing discrimination, racism, arbitrary detention, and verbal and physical violence in receiving countries (OHCHR, 2022; IOM, 2022). A recent IOM report issued on TCNs in Germany, for example, indicated that 66% of respondents had faced issues during their journeys, 56% of whom had reportedly encountered discrimination and racism. IOM Interventions Since the start of the war, IOM has provided a range of services for conflict-affected TCNs, both inside Ukraine and in neighboring countries, reaching over 5,000 TCNs with information provision, protection, health services, 1. IOM data as of 13 July 2022. 2. IOM data as of 15 July 2022. and accommodation. Of these, 951 TCNs have also been supported with voluntary humanitarian return.2 Although IOM is currently unable to provide or guarantee safe transport out of Ukraine, IOM provides information on options for leaving Ukraine, reception conditions in surrounding countries, and referrals for further specialized support through a hotline (527) and through face-to-face information sessions, reaching over 3,500 TCNs since February in Ukraine alone. IOM has also provided cash grants and humanitarian supplies directly to TCNs and has assisted in liaising with consulates and embassies as needed. In neighboring countries, IOM has focused on helping TCNs return home in a safe and dignified manner if they so wish, as well as increasing access to services and alternative protection pathways. IOM Romania is one of the many missions that has provided return support to TCNs such as Harold, a Colombian student, who received accommodation and travel documents to return to his country following the outbreak of the conflict. In addition, IOM ensures that protection-sensitive practices are in place at borders through the provision of trainings for border guards on the identification of victims of trafficking and on culturally sensitive communication. In collective centers in neighboring countries, IOM’s health teams also assist TCNs through counselling and socio-relational activities.
On 28 April, IOM launched its Revised Flash Appeal for Ukraine and Neighbouring Countries, which requests USD 514 million over the course of nine months to meet the needs of Internally Displaced Persons (IDP), refugees, migrants, third country nationals (TCN) and other vulnerable populations, as well as hosting communities in Ukraine and its neighbouring countries, including Belarus, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania, and Slovakia. As of 21 July, IOM has received approximately USD 241.3 million, which represents confirmed funding and is exclusive of USD 1 million from the Migration Emergency Funding Mechanism (MEFM) and USD 0.3 million in reallocated funds.