17 March 2015
The European Union and IOM have launched a toll-free hotline to provide practical information to internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Ukraine. As the number of IDPs has exceeded 1.1 million people, many of them are in desperate need of reliable information on where to find accommodation, which social payments are available to them and how to register, how to restore their documents, and what humanitarian assistance programmes are running in the region of their displacement and other sorts of assistance. The hotline will also provide referral opportunities to potential victims of trafficking, victims of gender-based, sexual and other forms of violence.
The hotline, operated by IOM’s implementing partner Donbas SOS, builds on the experience gained by the NGO with running a similar project and is part of a comprehensive EUR 6.5 million programme funded by the EU, which also provides cash-assistance to IDPs, livelihood support and community stabilization measures, as well as assistance to the Government of Ukraine in registering IDPs.
At the press conference in Kyiv, Mr. Berend de Groot, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to Ukraine, stated that “with over 1.1 displaced people within the country, over half a million people who have moved to Russia and about 100,000 people in Belarus and other surrounding countries, Ukraine has a displaced population of 1.8 million”. The EU Delegation official referred to the maximum figure of displacement in the Balkans in the 1990s of 4 million people, stating that “it is important to have this figure in your mind to understand the magnitude of the problems which we are confronted with today.”
Since the outbreak of the Ukrainian crisis, IOM has assisted close to 40,000 vulnerable IDPs directly. Approximately half of them received cash assistance with funding from the EU, others were provided with clothes, shoes, medicine, hygiene items, heaters, blankets and similar aid with funding from the U.S., UN, Norway, Switzerland and Germany.
The hotline 0 800 309 110 is operating from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. on working days and from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.