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Ukraine: IDPs Turn to Volunteers, Rather than Government for Support

Nearly a year and a half after war in eastern Ukraine with Russia and Russian-backed separatists forced over a million people to flee their homes — the largest population displacement in Eurasia since World War II — the Ukrainian government still is relying on hundreds of volunteers to provide the response.

Based on the numbers alone, these groups, often formed ad hoc, face a staggering task. Approximately 1.4 million people are registered as Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in areas controlled by the Ukrainian government. The United Nations puts the total estimate even higher — 2.3 million, as of July 2015.

The majority are elderly, according to government data.

Yet despite these figures, no unified national policy exists for meeting the needs of any of these Ukrainians. No single government body addresses their problems. Rather, responsibility falls between various ministries and agencies; and, consequently, often falls between the cracks, IDPs say.

To read the full story

Justyna Mielnikiewicz is a freelance photojournalist based in Tbilisi.

Ukraine: IDPs Turn to Volunteers, Rather than Government for Support

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