As many of us are preparing to pack our bags to travel on short breaks and holidays, we are reminded that too many people in our world are forced to flee their homes; packing only what they can carry for an uncertain future.
Every year for the last decade the number of people forcibly displaced has grown; conflict, disaster and climate crisis all contribute and last year the war in Ukraine means the number exceeded 100 million for the first time.
Although the war has moved from our headlines, the impact continues to affect the lives of millions of people. Since war began, Habitat has helped more than 35,000 people stay safe and we are committed to helping affected families secure durable solutions to their housing needs, in neighbouring countries and inside Ukraine, over the long-term.
Right now more than 5 million people are internally displaced in Ukraine, forced to leave their homes behind. Many of these people are older and more vulnerable, staying behind when others were able to leave, many of them are living in totally inadequate accommodation.
Existing buildings, including schools, university accommodation and community centres are being used as temporary living accommodations, or collective centres, for hosting displaced people.
These buildings are not designed for accommodation and while they are intended to be short-term solutions, in reality 89% of collective centres are a place to stay for around 3 months. The most vulnerable groups, including elderly people, disabled, women with young children and chronically ill – are likely to remain for as long as 6 months following displacement.
Collective centres often do not provide a dignified and decent place to live. According to UNHCR, 79% need rehabilitation, repair, or small construction works.
More than half have one or more shelter related issues such as, a lack of privacy in the sleeping area, non-segregated toilets/showers, or infrastructure issues, especially for people with disabilities. Almost half of the collective centres need water and sanitation related repairs.