GPC Operations Cell: gpc[at]unhcr.org
Gender-Based Violence: chase[at]unfpa.org
Child Protection: rpouwels[at]unicef.org
Housing, Land and Property: jim.robinson[at]nrc.no
Mine Action: unmasgeneva[at]un.org
Ukraine has been embroiled in political strife and armed conflict since 2014. Since then, a humanitarian and protection crisis precipitated in the Donetska and Luhanska region. The protracted nature of the crisis contributed to a crumbling economy and heightened humanitarian needs of civilians living in these regions. The experience of COVID-19 further incapacitated an already war-weary population and served to compromise the operational environment for humanitarian and protection actors. In this context, the outbreak of the violence in February 2022, expanded the impact of the crisis to newer regions with rapidly deteriorated conditions for already struggling populations. This magnified the need for assistance at an unprecedented rate. Since the escalation of hostilities, it is estimated that 7.7 million people are internally displaced, which is equivalent to 17.5 percent of the entire population. The renewed hostilities have contributed to extreme human suffering with civilians killed, injured, experiencing daily violence and bombardments.
The humanitarian and protection situation is worrying. Thousands of civilians have been innocent victims of the conflict—losing loved ones and homes. Schools, hospitals, care institutions and entire cities destroyed. Internally displaced persons are facing immense shortages of food, water, basic items and energy and lack access to health services and medication. Multiple forms of gender-based violence is being reported as women and girls are on the move through vulnerable crossing points along with high risks of trafficking in persons. Numerous children have been separated from their families making them vulnerable to risks of trafficking and abuse as well. With the shrinking possibilities of care and support, older persons and those with disabilities are finding them constrained to flee active conflict zones.
The Protection Cluster in Ukraine was activated in 2014 to ensure the coordination of protection interventions in emergencies and to respond to the protection needs of persons affected by conflict and disasters. It is composed of the Gender-Based Violence (GBV) Area of Responsibility (AoR), the Child Protection (CP) Area of Responsibility (AoR), and a Housing, Land, and Property Area of Responsibility (HLP AoR). The Protection Cluster is lead and coordinated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).