This is provided for by the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Oleksii Chernyshov, Minister for Communities and Territories Development of Ukraine and Karolina Lindholm Billing, the Representative of the Office of the High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) in Ukraine on April 18, Ukrinform reports with reference to the UN Refugee Agency.
As Lindholm Billing stresses, the intensive shelling has forced millions of Ukrainians out of their homes and many people have no house or apartment left to return to.
“What we hope to do through this partnership is to support the government and the people of Ukraine to find dignified and sustainable housing options for people who have lost their homes,” said the Representative of the Office of the UNHCR in Ukraine.
As noted, initial assessments indicate that damage to housing is a major concern for residents in 75% of settlements in Donetsk, Kharkiv, Luhansk, and Zaporizhzhia regions.
UNHCR has been supporting the local authorities in numerous regions, where people have arrived to seek safety, to scale up the capacity of temporary reception centres. But this is just a temporary solution.
“We will also support with refurbishment and repurposing of collective centres, and work with the authorities and partners, and displaced people themselves, in developing a variety of sustainable housing solutions for people who will not be able to go back to their places of origin anytime soon,” added Lindholm Billing.
Through the Memorandum of Understanding, UNHCR reaffirms its commitment to work with the Government of Ukraine in finding solutions that complement their response efforts to the humanitarian crisis in the country. In particular, UNHCR will contribute to mapping and assessing the scale of damages and destruction to civilian housing, conducting repairs of damaged homes and refurbishment of collective centres, and help develop dignified and safe housing solutions for displaced people.
UNHCR underscores that in all its programmes, the agency takes a people and community-centered approach. This is key for ensuring sustainability and the achievement of long-term solutions for displaced people of various backgrounds, including older persons, persons with disabilities, families with young children and single households.
“There is no one-size fits all, and it’s by involving the people affected in the solutions that we make sure that resources are invested in solutions that actually match peoples’ needs and aspirations,” adds Lindholm Billing.
According to the UN data, 11.7 million people have to leave their homes as a result of Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. In particular, more than 4.6 million people have left Ukraine, and another 7.1 million have been displaced internally.
Photo credit: UNHCR Ukraine
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