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Say a Word for the displaced person. BLOG by Natalia Yemchenko, SCM’s Director of Public Relations and Communications


The war has changed and is still changing us greatly. Us, the displaced persons who lost our homes, environment and work.

The word "displaced" has become part of our new vocabulary since 2014. IDPs. Internally displaced persons. I would abbreviate and decipher it my own way: ITP - involuntarily transplanted people. It seems to me more accurate and more honest. IDPs. That’s how now they call those who fled from the war in Donbas. These people are 1.6 million civilians only within Ukraine (according to the Ministry of Social Policy). Throughout the world, too, immigrants and refugees became a sign of the 21st century.

The other day the UN said about this global problem: "Every second one person replenishes the "army" of internally displaced persons. By the end of 2016, those who became internally displaced as a result of conflicts and violence amounted to 40.3 million people all over the world.

For years millions of people have been roaming the world in search of home, future and security. Many of those who cross international borders as refugees or irregular migrants, have failed to find support in their own countries.

This is more important than ever for Ukraine. The war has deprived millions of people of home, work and protection.

The IDPs of Ukraine are in a great deal of trouble today:

- the key trouble is unemployment: only 46% of internally displaced persons are employed (according to the national monitoring system on the situation with IDPs);

- acute shortage of funds: 44% of the displaced have enough money just for a living (according to the national monitoring system on the situation with IDPs);

- housing shortage: 66% of IDPs rent apartments, 22% live with relatives, 6% - in collective centers and 3% - in dormitories. Only less than 2% of IDPs were able to acquire their own housing (according to the national monitoring system on the situation with IDPs);

- "displaced" stigma: according to the International Organization for Migration, 10% of respondents felt discriminated against their IDPs status. This was related to such areas as renting an apartment (46%), occupation (31%), medical care (22%), relations with local communities (19%);

- resettlement geography : most of the IDPs live on the peaceful territory of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, as well as in the Kharkiv region and in Kyiv (the media);

- lack of state aid: according to the Minister of Temporary Occupied Territories and IDPs, state funding for the IDPs needs was only 2% for the last 2 years. The lion's share of comprehensive humanitarian assistance is international and charity organizations.

I know hundreds of displaced persons personally. Dozens of them are successful. The rest just survive. Some failed to get a job. Many did not find housing. Some with a sick child has no opportunity to collect all the necessary medical notes and documents in a new place of residence.

These problems are not theoretical. My parents, my brother and I face them in one form or another.

Charitable organizations and volunteer programs that help IDPs in medical matters are now assistants and lawyers on the most basic issues.

In fact, the work of Rinat Akhmetov Humanitarian Center in 2014 started with the evacuation and resettlement of those who found themselves in the epicenter of the war. Then there appeared a program of food aid, including for IDPs (the Center issued about 12 million survival kits in general). There are a number of targeted assistance projects to provide help to IDPs’ children: urgent treatment and surgeries, providing medications for the chronically ill, treatment and rehabilitation of wounded, heart surgeries and hearing aid. More detailed information can be obtained from the Humanitarian Center website.

We help. Many of us help. But many of us are burnt out. It is necessary to solve problems systematically, at the legislative level, so that IDPs, at least, can:

- to have the necessary documents quickly re-issued;

- to have qualified medical care at the new place of residence;

- to collect benefits for treatment of children.

A lot has been said about the war and the problems of people for the past 3 years. But we, temporarily moved people, are still trying to get on with our lives with titanic efforts. This is difficult without ground under the feet and without clear solutions. That is why it's important to speak out. And it's important to help. With word. With deed.