Ukraine one year on: IRC survey reveals war has near universal impact

99% of people surveyed by the IRC resort to desperate measures in the wake of growing insecurity

Kyiv, Ukraine, 23 February 2023 – One year since the war in Ukraine escalated, a recent assessment by International Rescue Committee (IRC) reveals that almost all families surveyed are struggling to meet their most basic needs for warmth and food, while 58% of people interviewed are grappling with psychological trauma, stress and anxiety. As the conflict shows no signs of abating, 17.6 million people inside the country are in need of humanitarian assistance, while the official UN estimates indicate that 27% of their needs have reached “catastrophic” levels.

  • A recent IRC survey conducted across six regions of Ukraine reveals that amidst continued fighting, growing insecurity and new socio-economic factors, such as reduced income, have driven almost all respondents (99%) to adopt negative coping mechanisms.  
  • Over 60% of people were forced to exhaust their savings, 51% reduced their spending on food and 30% had to cut on their medical expenses. People do not have the resources to buy medication or cover for transportation costs to get to the nearest hospital.
  • Money, health services and food are among their most pressing priorities, with 93% of families lacking the financial resources to meet their basic household needs.  
  • As winter temperatures continue, internally displaced people interviewed both in collective shelters and private homes lack firewood, warm clothing and blankets, electric heaters and generators, and cash to pay for utilities. 

For nearly a year, the IRC together with local partners have been providing cash, protection, legal aid and emergency items to displaced people and families living close to the frontlines. Across Europe and in the US we are working to support those fleeing the violence and seeking to rebuild their lives. In the UK, the Ukraine Response Programme supports over 180 Ukrainian refugees around the country with tailored integration and job-readiness support, to help new arrivals navigate life in the UK and prepare them to enter the labour market. We are committed to staying and delivering for all conflict-affected people as long as needed, and we encourage international donors to continue to provide essential funding to support the humanitarian response inside Ukraine and across the region.

Marysia Zapasnik, IRC’s Ukraine Country Director, said: 

“One year since the war escalated, our survey demonstrates the devastating impact the conflict has had on the people of Ukraine. With the country experiencing a bitterly cold winter, 27% of the people we spoke to told us they didn’t have sufficient heating. 93% said they could not meet their basic needs. What families need right now is protection, safety and warmth, access to humanitarian assistance to survive today and economic support to allow them to rebuild their lives tomorrow.

“To date, the IRC together with our local partners has reached over half a million people with critical humanitarian assistance. We are providing support directly to the displaced families, so that they can buy food and children’s clothing, and pay their bills. We are working with the older people who are unable to reach medical facilities, and those who are struggling to heat their homes. Our teams also strive to address the less visible, but no less damaging, psychological impacts of the war by assisting women and children to cope with acute anxiety, stress and trauma.

“But we cannot stop here. One year on, the world must not forget Ukraine. It is vital that donors sustain the humanitarian efforts to support the people in need in Ukraine – and those displaced beyond its borders.”

As a member of the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC) in the UK, the IRC has received funds from the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal to scale up its programmes and meet the needs of conflict-affected people in Ukraine and Poland. Thanks to a huge outpouring of generosity from the UK public, the DEC Ukraine Humanitarian Appeal has raised over £400 million, making the DEC the biggest charity donor to the response inside Ukraine and for the regional refugee response*.