Financial support for vulnerable Ukrainian refugees in Plovdiv
The war in Ukraine has caused one of the fastest forced population movements since the Second World War. Over the past few months, nearly one third of the population – roughly 14 million people – have been forced to flee their homes. Millions of Ukrainians have lost their livelihoods and 90% are at risk of falling into poverty.
Bulgaria currently hosts more than 50 000 people who fled the war in Ukraine. Plovdiv - Bulgaria’s second largest city is home to hundreds of refugees from Ukraine. As part of IOM Bulgaria's activities in response to the crisis in Ukraine, an IOM Bulgaria team met with some of them at the Temporary accommodation centre for refugees called “Second Home” - a former pulmonary hospital. Thanks to the enthusiasm and the hard work of many Ukrainian refugees, volunteers from Plovdiv, Ukraine Support and Renovation Foundation, various civil society organizations and the Plovdiv Municipality, the building now hosts more than 300 people displaced by the war in Ukraine.
Among these people are many vulnerable individuals - elderly people, people with chronic diseases and disabilities, single mothers, unaccompanied children. It goes without saying that the grave humanitarian crisis caused by the Russian invasion in Ukraine particularly affects these most vulnerable people. IOM’s mission as an UN agency is to prioritise vulnerable people and ensure that their health, rights and dignity are safeguarded.
Over a whole day, the IOM representatives met with tens of people in vulnerable situation who are in urgent need of support and after a screening, delivered financial assistance to many of them in the form of pre-paid cards. The IOM team also provided healthcare support to individuals with chronic health conditions by purchasing prescription medicines that are vital for their wellbeing.
Despite the stress, anxiety and despair caused by the military conflict, the people in the accommodation centre have managed to transform the old building into a place that feels cosy and welcoming. The Christmas decoration, carefully prepared by the people living in the centre is a reminder that everyone has the right to feel the warmth and festive spirit. What everyone wishes for the coming year though, is that the war in their homeland ends. “Peace” seems to be by far the most popular New Year wish in the Ukrainian community in Plovdiv.
IOM Bulgaria supports people fleeing the war in Ukraine thanks to The Migrant and Refugee Fund (MRF) of the Council of Europe Development Bank (CEB), The Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration of the U.S. Department of State and UK Aid Direct, funded by the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office.