Assistance to internally displaced persons from the Crimea – a new field of activity of Caritas Ukraine


12.05.2014, Ukraine
Caritas Ukraine has launched a new project called “Emergency unit” (EMU) that is aimed at assistance and care of internally displaced persons (IDP). EMU’s main role is to locate, contact and assess needs of  IDP from the Crimea in the western Ukraine, identify gaps in covering their needs, create a date base for the IDP, come up with programs meeting the needs identified by EMU’s assessments, and prioritize them for funding/implementation.

According to civic organizations who take care of internally displaced persons from the Crimea, there are over 15 thousands of IDP from the Crimea on the continent territory of Ukraine. IDP and activists who take care of them notice that assistance to refugees on the side of government isn’t effective and complex, lacks vision and development strategy.

Among other problems there is nonfulfillment of social security guarantees that are foreseen by law on “Securing rights and freedoms of citizens on temporarily occupied territories” and also inefficiency of IDP registration procedure. Many IDP are still unregistered, and when they call on the “hot-line” and ask what help they can receive, the answer is ‘any’. On the 23d of May they plan to hold a meeting in Kyiv.

Caritas Ukraine project of assistance to IDP from Crimea will include the following components:
1. Collection and distribution of food products and different stuff (clothes, shoes etc).
2. Assistance in legal issues (processing documents, pension and social security benefit etc).
3. Psychosocial follow-up (individual and team work with children and adults).
4. Transport services (passage from the railway station to the place of residence, moving from one place of dwelling to another).
5. Accommodation (providing lodging in Caritas Ukraine regional organizations, searching of other housing possibilities on chargeless or paid basis).
6. Provision of employment (redirection to employment centers, search of employment by Caritas social workers, creating conditions for self-employment).

To this day, there is no centralized coordination of assistance related to IDP: while registering with the regional  offices of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (mostly through “hot lines” set up by the offices and posted on internet & railway stations/airports), IDP gets information as to where they should ask for assistance – team of Caritas Ukraine considers as an important to implement this task by own means.


Caritas Europa employee together with Catholic Relief Services consultant are providing technical support in the initial planning phase of a larger-scale response and are ready to help put in place the structure deemed necessary to start addressing the needs of larger IDP numbers effectively, as well as to help attract additional resources. Moreover, in order to organize the most efficient implementation of the project Caritas Ukraine involves other consultants and foreign colleagues who have direct experience of work with refugees.

Grygoriy Seleshchuk, project coordinator, comments: “Assistance from Caritas Ukraine (non-recurrent material aid and also complex and daily help) was rendered and is rendered to nearly 300 IDP, and it is planned to increase it three-fold. It can’t be considered as a colossal scale, but there is a part of our approach – we focus on the qualitative aspect, not quantitative. Deliver a product package or clothes to a family is one level, but analyze and provide complex and diverse assistance to all family or community members is an entirely different level that requires important resources, knowledge and skills. We are guided by the latter and will try to achieve this goal.”

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