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Humanitarian project for the internally displaced persons in the Odessa Oblast

The Odessa Oblast has one of the highest numbers of internally displaced persons of any area in the country as a result of the conflict in eastern Ukraine. Over six months, the number of people resettled in the Odessa Oblast has increased by nearly 10,000. In February 2015, there were 21,181 resettled people, and by August there were 30,838.

The activity of international organisations working with refugees in this region is low. In June 2015, three organisations were active: the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). According to information from August 2015, only the IOM was operating there at that time.

There has been noticeable migration traffic in the oblast. According to official data, 12,126 people came to the oblast from other regions of Ukraine in 2015, while 12,715 left.

Humanitarian project for the internally displaced persons in the Odessa Oblast

The aim of the project is to help internally displaced people until they can return to their homes or find a new home. Under the project, basic necessities were purchased (foodstuffs, stationery, chemical agents, clothing, shoes and other items according to needs), then distributed among the displaced people. Help provided under the project will improve the standard of living of the refugees.

The project was implemented from 1 October to 31 December 2015 in cooperation with the Religious Mission Caritas-Spes-Odessa of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Odessa-Simferopol. The actions covered the area of the Odessa Oblast as a region with one of the highest numbers of internally displaced persons resulting from the conflict in Ukraine.

The help was addressed to internally displaced people staying within the Odessa Oblast in centres for refugees and Caritas-Spes centres in Odessa, as well as to those remaining in contact with Roman Catholic parishes in the Odessa Oblast. Particular attention was focused on meeting the needs of people with disabilities, single mothers, elderly people and unemployed people.

The main purpose of the project is to take measures to secure the most urgent living needs of internally displaced persons. The first measure was to prepare posters informing about assistance for displaced persons. Then, to adjust the measures taken to the needs of migrants, surveys and talks were conducted. On the basis of gathered information, possible assistance was outlined and those in need were divided into five groups. The measures were divided into five stages, corresponding to the five groups of migrants. Indicated products were then purchased and divided according to need. Upon completion of distribution of the products, a press conference was held. The conference was an occasion to sum up the project and inform about the difficult situation of internally displaced persons. The measures taken were ad hoc as an immediate response to the difficult situation of migrants, improving their conditions only temporarily.

Humanitarian project for the internally displaced persons in the Odessa Oblast

The project was implemented between 1 October and 31 December 2015 in cooperation with the Religious Mission Caritas-Spes-Odessa of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Odessa-Simferopol.

Following a campaign to inform about the project and an analysis of the needs of displaced persons, specified products were purchased and distributed among those in need. After gathering information from migrants as to their needs, a decision was made to modify the project. Purchases of stationery, chemical agents, clothing and shoes were ended in favour of household appliances, pillows, bedsheets, towels (altogether 1,150) and four tonnes of food products. Then 538 packages were prepared and divided among people in need. Altogether, aid was distributed to 1041 people, who included large families, disabled people, elderly people and disabled pensioners.

The measures, a response to the difficult situation of displaced persons, were taken ad hoc and did not lead to a permanent improvement of the situations of migrants. The project’s implementation was an occasion to turn the attention of residents of the Odessa Oblast to the situation of internally displaced persons and to the humanitarian aid provided by Poland, thereby increasing recognisability of the latter.