Supporting villages affected by wildfires in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine

Supporting villages affected by wildfires in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine

Oct 13, 2020

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine’s Donbas region, entering its seventh year, has taken lives, separated families, disrupted access to basic services, caused undue stress, and destroyed countless homes and infrastructure. Now, wildfires are ravaging the region, adding to the area’s struggles and affecting the settlements along the contact line in Luhansk oblast. 

To date, at least 11 people have been killed and 19 injured in the fires. According to the National Police Service, 560 people have been evacuated, while more than 1,000 have relocated. Because the territory along the contact line is contaminated with mines and other unexploded ordinances, the fire has also caused detonations. Many people have lost their homes, and the wildfires have ruined plans for the future. Although people in the affected locations are trying to cope on their own, residents of surrounding areas that have not been affected by the fires are providing support by delivering clothes, food, hygiene items, and water.

People in Need is on the ground delivering water

People in Need (PIN), together with other NGOs, has focused its efforts in Ukraine on supporting people affected by the wildfires. As part of the ACCESS consortium, and with support from the European Union Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), PIN has delivered 1,800 litres of drinking water to Syrotyne and Muratove.

There is a large population of internally displaced persons in these villages, and due to their war experiences, they have been among the most active in providing support. “Displaced people are the most active group among those who organise and provide help; they share what they can, as they remember war and relocation,” says the assistance coordinator of the village council in Syrotyne.

The ACCESS consortium

In 2017, a group of non-governmental humanitarian organisations joined together to deliver much-needed humanitarian assistance in Ukraine. The consortium includes PIN, Médicos del Mundo and ACTED in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives, Help Age International, and Right to Protection. Since its creation, the ACCESS consortium has reached more than 260,000 people with support from ECHO. Together, ACCESS partners have significant experience in collective humanitarian interventions in Ukraine, and a thorough, evidence-based understanding of the context.

Author: Alyona Budagovska, PIN Ukraine Communication Officer