New report: People with disabilities in Ukraine facing multiple threats
Press Release | 7th October 2022, 9:00
Press Release | 7th October 2022, 9:00
The most vulnerable people in Ukraine are facing multiple protection threats, according to a new report from the charity Humanity & Inclusion (HI). Published on 7th October, the report includes alarming accounts from HI’s teams on the ground who are witnessing people with disabilities being disproportionately exposed to violence and abuse and having greater difficulty accessing humanitarian aid and the services they need.
and older people in Ukraine are at direct risk of abandonment, violence, injury and death. Due to all the dangers and challenges of living in a war zone, caregivers of older people and family members with disabilities are making impossible decisions between fleeing and staying to care for their family members.
Some of the situations witnessed by Humanity & Inclusion’s teams in Ukraine include:
The most recent data indicate that , older and chronically ill people make up a high proportion of those who are internally displaced . In the central and western parts of Ukraine, institutions hosting older people or children with disabilities are often operating at double or triple their capacity. Various reports show children with disabilities to be living in horrendous conditions in some institutions. Humanity & Inclusion staff have witnessed overcrowding, poor hygiene and a lack of technical skills and care in these centers, as well as a loss of contact between the children and their families. These children are also in danger of being abandoned entirely, as many of the center staff have evacuated with their families.
Based on Humanity & Inclusion's experience in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen, we know that the number of people with disabilities in Ukraine will increase due to injuries caused by explosive and armed violence. Bombing and shelling cause complex injuries that can lead to amputations or permanent disabilities, requiring long-term rehabilitation care. It is crucial to develop health services adapted to people living with disabilities.
Currently, health services in Ukraine lack rehabilitation capacity. Hospitals are overrun and, in order to cope, they need to shorten the length of stays and are discharging people early. There has been a huge increase in demand for artificial limbs & braces and rehabilitation services, and there are challenges with under-staffing, inconsistent referral systems and weak data management.
Trauma and mental health problems are among the primary healthcare risks in Ukraine as the population is witnessing highly traumatic events. But despite the huge demand for mental health and psychosocial support there is limited access, due to the high cost and limited availability of services. HI teams are also observing strong signs of distress from staff working in hospitals and collective centers due to overwork, the increasing number of people in need, and the lack of resources.
Humanity & Inclusion teams in Ukraine are working to support the most vulnerable people affected by the conflict, including injured people, people with disabilities, older people and those with chronic illnesses. Our activities include emergency rehabilitation care, mental health and psychological support, and also include risk education sessions to prevent accidents with explosive ordnance.
· Interview available with Humanity & Inclusion’s experts
· Published on 7th October, Humanity & Inclusion’s new report “Ukraine, where sirens sound day and night - A focus on persons with disabilities and provision of emergency health services” paints a harrowing picture of the situation for people with disabilities living in the war-torn country. The report is based on data reviews and first hand observations from Humanity & Inclusion’s teams on the ground who are witnessing people with disabilities being disproportionately exposed to violence and abuse and having more difficulties accessing humanitarian aid and the services they need.
Link to the full report here.
 6.6 million people have been displaced by the conflict in Ukraine, around 15% of the population. The most recent data from the International Organization for Migration (IOM) estimates that 25% of internally displaced families in Ukraine include at least one family member with a disability, 36% include a chronically ill person and 46% a person over 60. As a result,
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