16:36 23.01.2024

UNHCR repairs over 27,500 houses, enabling families to remain in and return to their homes in Ukraine

6 min read
UNHCR repairs over 27,500 houses, enabling families to remain in and return to their homes in Ukraine

Today, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, together with the Ambassador of Japan to Ukraine, Kuninori Matsuda, and the Head of the EU Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine, Claudia Amaral, visited families and locations in Kyiv region to see the results of house repairs and new solutions implemented for people who have had their homes damaged or destroyed in the war.

23 Jan 2024

© UNHCR/Alina Kovalenko

Kyiv, Ukraine, 23 January – With Russia’s full-scale war on Ukraine soon entering its third year, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, continues to prioritise its house repair programme, which enables people and families to remain in and rebuild their own homes, or return to these, after having lived in internal displacement or abroad as refugees due to Russia’s invasion.

In close cooperation with the Government of Ukraine and its regional and local authorities, UNHCR together with its partners has completed the repair of over 27,500 homes across the country since the massive escalation of the war in February 2022 – and more repairs are finalized every week.

Regions such as Kharkiv, Mykolaiv, Kyiv, Chernihiv, and Sumy have seen significant repairs and rehabilitations implemented by UNHCR, focusing primarily on repairs of private houses, but also multi-story apartment buildings where windows typically are replaced and upgraded. In order to ensure that the repair support is tailored to the specific needs and situation of each family, UNHCR either engages Ukrainian contractors to do the repair works, provides construction materials or cash to cover repair costs and materials.

The repairs vary from smaller repairs and specific areas such as fixing the roof, changing windows and doors, and adding insulation to protect from the cold, to much more substantial, heavy and extensive repair works on houses – all in order to ensure that homes are inhabitable and can be kept warm during cold winter months.

The repairs of private houses are ongoing with support from UNHCR on one of the most damaged streets in Irpin, Kyiv region. ©UNHCR/Alina Kovalenko

Today, a high-level delegation with the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, UNHCR’s Regional Director for Europe, Philippe Leclerc, and UNHCR’s Representative in Ukraine, Karolina Lindholm Billing, undertook a visit to Kyiv region. They were joined by the Ambassador of Japan, Kuninori Matsuda, and the Head of the EU Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine, Claudia Amaral – together with the United States of America, the European Union and Japan are the three largest donors to UNHCR’s response in Ukraine, enabling the Agency to support and assist the war-affected people in greatest need across the country.

The delegation, accompanied by the Head of Kyiv oblast administration Ruslan Kravchenko, visited Horenka and Irpin. These areas were at the epicentre of hostilities at the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion, leaving behind immense destruction and damages to houses, apartments and social infrastructure. UNHCR therefore launched its house repair program in this region in July 2022.

The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, together with the Head of the EU Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine, Claudia Amaral, visited a family who was provided a prefabricated house in Horenka, Kyiv region. ©UNHCR/Alina Kovalenko

“The repair of homes not only restores physical structures but also plays a crucial role in people’s psychological recovery and in rebuilding the very fabric of communities torn apart by war. I was in Irpin a few months after these areas were retaken by the Government of Ukraine and was shocked by the scale of destruction I saw. Coming back to this place and seeing it being rebuilt and full of people gives me hope and shows how UNHCR contributes to people’s and communities’ determination to recover and rebuild. This would not be possible without the leadership of the Government, regional and local authorities, and the strong support from key partners and donors, which must continue,” said Filippo Grandithe UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

“Kyiv region is one of the most affected by the full-scale Russian invasion. More than 28,000 sites were destroyed and damaged, the majority of them were residential buildings. As of today, we have already restored 16,500 objects. We are grateful to UNHCR and its partners, who from the first days joined the reconstruction of the region and provide assistance to people. Primarily, this includes the restoration of residential buildings. To date, almost 2,800 of them have already been repaired, work is ongoing at another 317 sites. Thanks to joint efforts, we are helping people to return to their homes,” said Ruslan Kravchenko, the head of the Kyiv Regional State Administration.

“This unrelenting war has robbed millions of Ukrainians not only of their sense of security but also of the homes where their children grew up, where future plans were crafted, and where dreams were conceived and realised. The loss goes beyond the physical; it leaves profound emotional scars. That’s why it is critically important for the European Union to support efforts that allow as many Ukrainians affected by the war as possible to quickly return to their homes, restoring a sense of hope and confidence in a brighter tomorrow. We remain dedicated to this cause and, in collaboration with partners like UNHCR, exert every effort to reconstruct the homes of Ukraine,” said Claudia AmaralHead of EU Humanitarian Aid in Ukraine.

“Japan has been supporting Ukraine since the Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 through humanitarian assistance, rehabilitation and reconstruction assistance. In particular, it will be necessary to prepare a place for people to return to and live in a safe and warm environment. Today, seeing with my own eyes and hearing directly from the people involved, I was reminded of the importance of prompt and effective housing and shelter assistance. We would like to continue to support Ukraine in cooperation with UNHCR, an important partner in assisting Ukraine through a human security approach, so that people can return to their hometowns and live and engage in economic activities there with peace of mind,” noted Kuninori Matsuda, Ambassador of Japan to Ukraine.

In addition to durable repairs of houses and multi-story buildings, UNHCR provides emergency shelter materials immediately after attacks. This has been the case following Russia’s recent attacks in Kharkiv, Kryvyi Rih and Odesa, which the UN High Commissioner for Refugees has visited in recent days to see first-hand the ongoing destruction and the immediate humanitarian response provided through UNHCR’s partners in close liaison with local authorities. Since the start of the full-scale invasion, more than 271,684 people have received such emergency shelter kits, enabling them to quickly fix the immediate damage to their homes.

UNHCR also contributes to state-led programme eVidnovlennia and mechanisms launched to support access to housing and compensation for people whose homes were destroyed, by sharing its comprehensive dataset on damage assessment and response (SIDAR) and providing legal advice to help people apply for compensations or restore vital property documents. This is part of the Ukraine is Home collaboration, launched by UNHCR and Ukraine’s Ministry of Communities, Territories and Infrastructure Development a year ago to strengthen the complementarity between humanitarian and government-led programmes.


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