Ukraine: 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan(HRP) - Year End Report
Ukraine: 2016 Humanitarian Response Plan(HRP) - Year End Report
US$ 298 million requested
2.5 million targeted
Millions of people continue to suffer the consequences of the protracted violence in eastern Ukraine. Fighting continued to claim civilian lives and cause damage to houses and civilian infrastructures, whilst the difficult economic situation further compounded the suffering of those who fled the violence. The ‘contact line’ has become a de facto border and access of conflict-affected civilians to life-saving goods and services, and of humanitarian actors to people in need continued to be hampered by insecurity, bureaucratic impediments and logistical challenges.
Despite these challenges and a very low funding (33 per cent of the requirements), HRP partners in 2016 met the three Strategic Objectives (SOs) of the HRP 2016 with varying degrees. Overall, during the reporting period, an estimated 1.7 million people out of 3.1 million in need were reached with some form of humanitarian assistance at least once. Specifically, the target of SO1 - focusing on responding to protection needs of conflict-affected people- was achieved by 69 per cent, with an estimated 1.7 million receiving some type of assistance by the Protection Cluster partners. The majority of the people who received protection assistance were located in Government controlled areas (GCA) including Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and those crossing from Non-Government controlled areas (NGCA) to receive such assistance. However, the limited humanitarian access to NGCA throughout 2016 meant that, out of 2.7 million initially targeted, protection-related assistance reached only 9 per cent of the target in NGCA (both HRP and non-HRP).
The SO2 focusing on delivering life-saving emergency assistance was achieved by 64 per cent, while the SO3 focusing on improving the resilience and early recovery of conflict-affected people achieved only 4 per cent of the target. The low level of achievement against the SO3 triggered a need for further commitments and actions to integrate early recovery across the humanitarian response, including livelihoods, durable solutions and social cohesion.
The achievements against the SO1 and SO2 should not be taken at face value, as these achievements were possible because of the limited resources that had to be stretched to increase the breadth of response, and to meet the increasing and wider scope of needs at the expense of the original response objectives. For instance, this was evident in the severe consequence of the Government’s decision to suspend social benefits and pensions to some 500,000 – 600,000 IDPs in early 2016. This led to a major change in the operating context, prompting an adjustment of the protection programme’s focus from planned response operations to monitor the impact of such suspension. The scope of protection monitoring then increased from not only in the - initially prioritized areas, but also across the country, and in collective centres, where IDPs faced growing threats of forced eviction, often due to inability to pay skyrocketing utility costs. In addition, continually rising prices, exhaustion of whatever savings they may have had, deepening loss of income and livelihoods further undermined people’s resilience. This has further constrained people’s access to education, healthcare, housing and pushed many into unmanageable levels of debt. Repeated shelling on and around water facilities and incidences of electricity cuts due to shelling of power lines constantly reversed the fragile gains of emergency repairs. As such, every new shelling made emergency repairs more complicated and costlier, while lack of funding severely restricted the scope of such repair works. Shelling also continued to disrupt the functioning of critical health facilities in both GCA and NGCA, with more than 152 hospitals shelled during the conflict, while availability of medical staff in both sides of the ‘contact line’ reportedly continued to decline.
Persistent insecurity along the ‘contact line’ and continuous hindrances to access people living in NGCA, despite ongoing advocacy, have compelled humanitarian organisations to adopt a ‘pragmatic’ approach in programming, re-allocating resources to other beneficiaries in accessible areas that meet similar vulnerability criteria. As such, the relatively high number of people reached with humanitarian assistance in 2016 could be deceiving, as a large portion of the targeted population, particularly those along the ‘contact line’ and in NGCA, where needs are more acute, were not reached due to access restriction. Further away from the fighting area along the ‘contact line’, recovery and development actors struggled to significantly scale up, while livelihood opportunities continued to diminish as an indirect impact of the conflict. As a result, people in GCA who were already living on a borderline of survival in 2015 were pushed into deeper vulnerability. The Inter-Agency Vulnerability Assessment (IAVA) in 2016 found that there were pockets of humanitarian needs in GCA prompting the humanitarian partners to increase the targeted caseload in GCA to include both displaced and other vulnerable communities.
Due to operational priorities and to allow sufficient time for clusters to develop cluster transition plans, the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT), together with Inter-Cluster Coordination Group (ICG) considered not to pursue a Mid-Term Review of the 2016 HRP. This decision affected availability of hard data on the situation and understanding of progress towards planned deliverables that could have prompted an adjustment of the initially planned response corresponding to the changing operating reality. The situation continued evolving throughout 2016 adding complications to the operation and triggering new humanitarian needs. However, the targets originally established in 2015 as part of the 2016 planning process were not adjusted and remained static until towards the end of the year, when the humanitarian needs were assessed again during the development of the Humanitarian Needs Overview (HNO) 2017.
The HNO 2017 confirmed the trajectory of increased humanitarian needs, with a rise of an estimated 700,000 people affected by the conflict and in need of humanitarian assistance, as compared to in 2015. Within the context of a complex urban humanitarian crisis such as the one in Ukraine, the aggravation of the systemic and structural weaknesses by the conflict has a direct correlation with the deterioration of humanitarian situation. The positive indicators often mask a lack of substantive programme depth crucial to ensuring a graduation from humanitarian action. The short-term focus of humanitarian aid programming may not fully take account of existing long-term urban planning processes and challenges. However, the HRP 2017 acknowledges that in order to effectively reduce humanitarian needs, risks and vulnerability and build people’s resilience, humanitarian and development actors need to work side-by-side to implement a range of well-aligned short, medium and longer-term approaches. It also calls for a boost in engagement of development stakeholders and for development instruments to be more flexible and adaptable to humanitarian efforts.