15 August 2018
Into the fifth year of the conflict in eastern Ukraine, 1.5 million people are registered as internally displaced persons (IDPs). Uprooted, they face economic and social challenges building their lives in new places and communities.
New data collected by IOM, the UN Migration Agency, in the framework of the EU-funded project,* shows that the employment situation for IDPs deteriorates. In June, 42% of surveyed IDPs were employed, which reflects a 6% drop from March this year. A total of 11% of IDPs are actively looking for a job and ready to start working within a two-week period. Those looking for jobs overwhelmingly report difficulties securing appropriate work. These challenges include low pay for available vacancies, lack of vacancies corresponding to their qualifications, and discrimination by employers on the basis of their age or IDP status. Among surveyed IDPs 19% are retired persons or pensioners, 17% are engaged in housework, looking after children or other persons in the household, 6% are persons with disabilities, 3% are students and 2% are unemployed but not seeking employment.
The average income for an IDP has also continued to fall since December 2017. By June 2018 it had fallen to less than UAH 2,100, or USD 77, per month. This is less than the national subsistence level calculated by the Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine, which stood at more than UAH 3,300 in June 2018.
“The decrease in income, which might be related to the decline in employment, deepens IDP’s vulnerability in the long-term,” said IOM Ukraine’s Chief of Mission, Dr. Thomas Lothar Weiss. The survey data demonstrates that healthcare has become unaffordable for many IDPs due to the cost of medicine and services. Approximately one third of IDPs have not seen a doctor in over a year, and a lack of money is commonly noted as a reason for this. This round of survey also reflects the fact that reducing essential health expenditures is often used as a coping strategy by those IDPs who suffer from a lack of food.
“Ukraine is facing the biggest displacement crisis in Europe since the Balkan Wars. Over 3.4 million conflict-affected people in Ukraine require humanitarian assistance. Since 2014, IOM has assisted nearly 280,000 IDPs and conflict-affected people within its humanitarian, economic empowerment and social cohesion programmes and we are committed to continue. The National Monitoring System Report is a powerful tool that continues to be used by the Government and humanitarian organizations to develop their programming. Data presented in the Report helps us to assess and address the needs of vulnerable people in real time,” said Dr. Weiss.
IOM has been conducting surveys on the situation of IDPs in Ukraine on a regular basis since March 2016. The research presents integrated data of face-to-face and telephone interviews with IDPs, returnees, key informants and people crossing the contact line as well as focus groups discussions. In the latest, 10th round, conducted in June 2018, a total of 2,406 respondents were interviewed face-to-face, and 4,006 by telephone.
*The “Supporting Recovery and Sustainable Solutions for Internally Displaced Persons and the Conflict-Affected Population in Ukraine” project is providing livelihood assistance to conflict-affected people in Ukraine, fostering social cohesion and community development, collecting reliable data on IDP situation and needs, as well as supporting the government entities in the registration of displaced persons.