March 28, 2023 – Today, the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) and the Lviv Regional State Administration signed a Memorandum of Understanding that reaffirms their ongoing cooperation since the end of February 2022 in supporting the war-affected and displaced people in the region.
Since the beginning of the Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Lviv region has become the main “gate” through which citizens fled the war abroad and, hopefully, will be able to return. As one of the safer regions, Lviv Oblast also hosted a record number of internally displaced people (IDPs). According to the Lviv Regional State Administration, Lviv Oblast currently hosts around 250,000 IDPs, and that up to 600,000 IDPs have been staying in Lviv Oblast at the peak of displacement.
To support the regional authorities and their response to the large-scale displacement, UNHCR and its NGO partners have been active in a range of areas throughout the region, assisting displaced people with essential items, such as bedding, blankets, and hygiene kits, as well as individual cash payments to help towards rent and food, and free legal advice on renewing documents and accessing social benefits. Psychosocial support is also given to help people deal with the trauma of war and leaving everything behind.
To increase the capacity of Departments of Social Protection to register displaced people so they can access social benefits such as pensions, UNHCR has provided training sessions, office equipment, office furniture. High-capacity generators were also provided during the winter period, including to a communal heating facility, the Cardiology Centre, the emergency hospital and the Lviv Polytechnic National University where displaced people are now living. UNHCR also supported dozens of Invincibility points in the Lviv region with heaters, solar lights, and blankets.
During the signing ceremony, UNHCR Representative in Ukraine Karolina Lindholm Billing said: “I am very grateful to the Lviv oblast administration for the strong and efficient cooperation we have had during the past year, which has enabled us to contribute to the collective response. Together with our network of Ukrainian partners – especially local NGOs and community-based organizations, and under the leadership of the Ukrainian government and the regional authorities, UNHCR will continue assisting IDPs in Lviv oblast with legal aid, psychosocial support, cash for rent and help strengthen the capacity of community-based organizations to support IDPs with high vulnerabilities, including older persons and persons with disabilities.”
Commenting on the cooperation with the UNHCR, the head of Lviv Regional State Administration Maksym Kozytskyi noted: “We are thankful to UNHCR for the immense support that was provided during the year. We want to collaborate with big players and UNHCR has one of the leading roles in humanitarian response that gained trust in critical period. We are looking forward for ongoing cooperation and common vision in solving issues aimed to improve the lives of thousands internally displaced people, so they can feel that Lviv Region is their home.”
UNHCR started delivering humanitarian assistance in Lviv oblast at the end of February 2022, in close cooperation with local authorities and its local NGO partners – Rokada, Right to Protection, NEEKA and Stabilization Support Services. Around 200,000 displaced people hosted in the Oblast have been reached with legal aid and psychosocial support, cash assistance and essential items, and emergency shelter and housing support.
Across Ukraine in 2022, UNHCR provided humanitarian assistance and services to more than 4.32 million people impacted by the war. In the first two months in 2023, UNHCR has so far assisted nearly 600,000, bringing the total number of people reached through UNHCR’s programmes to 4.9 million.
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