Anna* holds her daughter Anastasiia (Nastia)*, 2 years old, at a flat the family rents after evacuation from Eastern Ukraine.

·                12-year-old Anton’s* father was forced to return to eastern Ukraine for work 

·                Anna* and her children struggle to buy basic goods in western Ukraine 

Two out of five families in Ukraine are in extreme need of livelihoods and basic items, Save the Children said today, as the country is now experiencing unprecedented rates of displacement, inflation, and unemployment one year into full-scale war. 

According to the latest study of the needs across Ukraine,[1] more than 40% of households reported they are struggling to meet day-to-day needs of food, water, and basic supplies. This number rises to 60% in the East and South, areas affected by heavy fighting. 

The National Bank of Ukraine assessed an inflation rate of 25% last month, with cost of produce growing by half in the eastern regions. Back in September, one in five consumers in Ukraine reported they could not afford items available in their stores. 

Anna* and her three children are barely keeping up with household costs in their new home in western Ukraine. Having evacuated from their hometown in Donbas in September, they barely had any savings and were initially forced to share an apartment with others. They were also unable to independently pay for rent, food, and clothing. The family have now received cash assistance from Save the Children to cover their basic needs.

 “I was able to provide the children with everything they needed. I could buy them fruit and meat. Because I, as a mother, also want them to have everything,” said Anna.

 Her 17-year-old-son Maksym recounts: “We bought ourselves shoes for the winter, bought food, and bought everything to cover our needs.”

 More than anything, Anna’s* family wants to return home, “…but I understand that I cannot go there, no matter how much I want to…that I have to endure. […] how long we can live here depends on the funds we have,” Anna concluded.

 5.3 million people still find themselves away from home in Ukraine, and a need for financial assistance among displaced families is growing by the day. One out of four people in Ukraine are currently unemployed, as many parents struggle to find sustainable work at their temporary place of residence. Some of them opt to return to their war-torn hometowns to find jobs.

 This is the case for Anton’s* family. Last March, the 12-year-old boy and his parents left Kharkiv for western Ukraine after constant shelling made life unbearable. A few months later, Anton’s father was forced to return.

 “[…] my husband was called to return to work. [He] didn’t return home because our house was destroyed,” said Olha*, Anton’s mother. “[My children] worry, they constantly ask when dad will live with us and when will we all be together. Not a day goes by that they don’t think about it.”

 Sonia Khush, Save the Children Country Director in Ukraine, said:

 “The scale of need for families in Ukraine is enormous, and it keeps growing as war is plunging more and more children and parents into poverty every single day. People lose sources of income as wages across the country are ceasing and businesses continue to be closed. And this is a devastating blow to displaced families who had already lost almost everything to this war and are now on the brink of survival, struggling to live another day.

 “Now, children and families in Ukraine need the humanitarian support, and the world must commit to facilitating the recovery of this generation, ensuring they can live in safety and dignity with their families but also have a future to look forward to. Children are the future of Ukraine, but their present development and futures are severely hampered by ongoing hostilities.”

 Save the Children calls for full, unhindered humanitarian access to families caught up in the crisis, regardless of where they are, particularly to those living in areas affected by armed hostilities. Ukraine donors should start planning for early recovery where possible.

*All names changed to protect identities.