Interview opportunity - Forgotten crisis: GIZ is supporting more than one million people in eastern Ukraine

Following the Crimean referendum of 16 March 2014, whose outcome was not recognised by the international community, Russia proceeded to annex the peninsula. Moreover, this event coincided with the outbreak of another conflict in 2014 in Ukraine’s eastern regions which saw pro-Russian separatists take up arms against Ukraine's government troops. Although official ceasefires have been brokered, the conflict continues.

Most severely affected by the armed conflict are the people of eastern Ukraine. Around 1.5 million of them have left their homes in the occupied territories to seek shelter in other cities, putting their host communities under enormous pressure to house and provide for them. In 2015, Germany's Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) commissioned the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH to provide support to the hardest-hit regions.   

The focus is thus on the regions of Kharkiv, Dnipropetrovsk and Saporishshja, where around 300,000 IDPs have found a new home. For the host communities, their arrival has proven extremely challenging, as there are not enough housing resources nor sufficient social services and assistance. Having analysed the bottlenecks, GIZ is now delivering assistance where it is most needed. For example, it has renovated and equipped 75 schools and kindergartens that teach and educate around 35,000 children. It has repaired roofs, replaced broken windows and renewed sanitation facilities to give the children a clean and warm living environment. With the many new patients also pushing hospitals and nursing care facilities to the limit, GIZ has renovated health care facilities and fitted out operating theatres and delivery rooms, thus giving around one million people access to better medical care. GIZ is also providing further training for medical professionals, for example in the treatment of traumatised patients.

Most of the people who were forced to flee their cities and villages are now rebuilding their lives elsewhere. For this reason, getting services and supplies to the new arrivals without delay is just as important in terms of overcoming the crisis as their long-term integration into society. With tensions in the population running high, GIZ is turning to joint football tournaments or summer camps to help overcome prejudices and ease social tensions between the local population and IDPs. Cultural and youth centres have also been overhauled and fitted with better equipment. In the meantime, around 1.5 million people – locals and IDPs – are benefiting from these services.        

GIZ's Country Director or the GIZ Project Manager from Ukraine will be available for a telephone interview in the week from 5 to 9 March 2018. If you would like to speak to them, please contact the GIZ Press Office. 

GIZ Press Office
Lena Hollender
+49 (0) 6196/79 44 66