The war in Ukraine is increasing poverty and damaging houses, leaving many people exposed to a harsh winter and inadequate shelters. Helvetas is helping to restore destroyed infrastructure, make emergency shelters habitable for longer periods, and rebuild homes.
Project NameREFAUK: Repair Facilitation Ukraine
Project Phase2023 to 2024
Thematic focusHumanitarian Response
WASH & Water Governance
A roof destroyed by rockets. Windows shattered and house walls shredded by cluster bombs. In one place the electricity has been cut. In another, it’s the water supply. Russia's war of aggression is depriving people in many areas in Ukraine of their homes, leaving behind distress, poverty and despair. Reconstruction is taking place, but people need safe shelter until they can move back into their homes.
With the support of Swiss Solidarity, and in cooperation with the Ukrainian NGO DESPRO, Helvetas is converting buildings into collective emergency shelters so that they can be inhabited over the longer term. In the Ivano-Frankivsk and Ternopil regions in the west of the country, the infrastructure for cooking, washing and heating is now available in 15 collective shelters – benefiting around 800 internally displaced people.
Building up and promoting reconstruction
The war has also affected public infrastructure. Helvetas is working to ensure that interrupted water supply systems are repaired. This will give 60,000 people access to clean water again. Sewage systems are also being improved where necessary. DESPRO is implementing these activities with the technical support of the Swiss organization SKAT Consulting.
To enable people to repair their homes in the war zone and return home, DESPRO is supporting them through cash ("Cash for Repair"), technical assistance and helping with electricity supplies. In the regions around Kiev and Kharkiv, 280 damaged houses and 13 apartment blocks with 260 households are being repaired and made ready for winter thanks to new windows, doors, roofs and radiators.
110 collective heating points and consolidating bomb shelter in two educational institutions (schools, kindergarten) will be equipped with materials and generators. Hence, 17'000 people suffering from consequences of power and gas shortages will have access to collective heating points.
IIn educational facilities, the points will serve both as educational spaces and as community heating centers for the local population. Communities in areas with major damage also lack tools, equipment and guidance on infrastructure repair. Helvetas is promoting local, small-scale initiatives to provide relief and reconstruction. In doing so, Helvetas works with communities through two repair hubs in the Kyiv and Khrakiv regions (center and east of Ukraine) to promote the circular economy and use limited materials carefully. Overall, about 50 grants for these community-led initiatives (social and construction) are planned to be provided to local organizations, with 22,000 people benefiting from these interventions.