17 November, Chernihiv, Ukraine – UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency and the Chernihiv Regional State Administration today signed a Memorandum of Understanding that sets out concrete areas of cooperation aimed at supporting the humanitarian needs of people living in and returning to the Chernihiv region.
Following the full-scale invasion of Ukraine, hostilities forced more than 150,000 residents of Chernihiv oblast from their homes in search of safety. An estimated 9,200 civilian homes and infrastructure were destroyed or damaged in the oblast as a result of shelling.
Since the impacted areas became accessible for humanitarian organisations, UNHCR has been providing assistance to people whose homes and lives have been directly impacted by the hostilities. Priority is given to those with specific vulnerabilities, like older persons, persons with disabilities and families with young children. Essential items like mattresses, blankets and kitchen sets have been distributed, in addition to cash assistance and emergency repair materials for damaged houses. Legal and psychosocial support has also been provided through UNHCR’s local NGO partners working in the region.
In August, UNHCR’s programme expanded to include repairs of damaged homes belonging to persons with specific vulnerabilities.
UNHCR Representative in Ukraine, Karolina Lindholm Billing commended the partnership with the Head of the Chernihiv Regional State Administration, Viacheslav Chaus, and his team during the ceremony of signing: “I am impressed by the Chernihiv people’s and authorities’ determination to quickly recover and rebuild and reaffirm UNHCR’s commitment to efficiently support this collective effort, by providing humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable people impacted by the war against Ukraine”.
Viacheslav Chaus, Head of the Chernihiv Regional State Administration, emphasized that the collaboration with the UNHCR is important for the restoration of Chernihiv region: “More than 9,000 destroyed buildings in the oblast are residential. Hospitals, schools, administration buildings are also among them. Unfortunately, Chernihiv oblast struggles with lack of electricity due to frequent attacks on energy infrastructure. Although almost 50,000 explosive items were defused, de-mining remains a pressing issue. However, with Ukrainians’ bravery and a strong international support, we are destined to succeed.”
So far, around 30,000 people in the Chernihiv region have been assisted through UNHCR’s protection, assistance and housing repair programmes, and the Agency aims to assist a total of 2,000 families with housing repairs within the next few months. Across Ukraine to date, UNHCR has provided humanitarian assistance and services to more than 3 million people impacted by the war.