The International Organization for Migration is fixing up many damaged and unused buildings to house nearly a million Ukrainians forced to flee their homes in the wake of Russia’s invasion.
The first phase of this program has been rolled out in the Zakarpattia region in western Ukraine. U.N. migration spokesman Paul Dillon says IOM and its partners began the shelter rehabilitation program several weeks ago in response to the number displaced by the invasion.
“Seven-point-seven million people internally displaced within the country. This represents about 17% of the prewar population, and an increase of some 1.2 million since the first report was released in the third week of March,” he said.
Dillon says work is underway to rehabilitate university student dormitories and war-damaged hotels to provide safe accommodations for roughly 1 million homeless people.
He says windows, doors and roofs are being replaced. Electrical systems are being rewired, sanitation facilities are being improved and temporary partitions are being installed for privacy.
“We do not see these particular facilities as being permanent structures. They are temporary measures to provide safe, secure, and dignified environments for people to live in … and we are looking at those who are most vulnerable. We are looking at single parent-headed households, people who have disabilities or people who are helping those with disabilities," he said.
The program initially will cover the five western regions of Ukraine. Dillon says these regions are the primary destination for newly displaced people because they are seen as safer than areas where fighting is more intense.
He says the shelter rehabilitation program may be expanded to other regions, depending on the need and the security situation.