19 Humanitarian Organizations and UN Appeal For US$ 38.6 Million To Support Ukrainian Refugees

World » UKRAINE | February 15, 2024, Thursday // 14:07
Bulgaria: 19 Humanitarian Organizations and UN Appeal For US$ 38.6 Million To Support Ukrainian Refugees Lilya, an art teacher from the Ukrainian city of Izmail, with her two sons in Ruse. UNHCR/Dobrin Kashavelov

As humanitarian support to refugees from Ukraine enters its third year, 19 humanitarian organizations and the UN in Bulgaria are appealing for US$ 38.6 million to support 70,000 refugees from Ukraine in Bulgaria in 2024.

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has led to the displacement of over 6.4 million refugees globally, with Bulgaria alone hosting over 67,000 individuals with Temporary Protection by 15 February 2024, highlighting the pressing need for humanitarian assistance.

"Our commitment to support refugees from Ukraine is steadfast,” said Seda Kuzucu, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) Representative and Refugee Coordinator in Bulgaria. "In close coordination with the government of Bulgaria, our priority is the protection, empowerment, and self-reliance of refugees, strengthening social cohesion, and localization of our efforts with municipalities and community-based organizations."

The Bulgaria chapter of the 2024 Refugee Response Plan (RRP) embodies a robust humanitarian response by five UN agencies, 13 national NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) that include six refugee-led organizations, four women-led organizations, and one faith-based organizations; and the International Federation of the Red Cross and the Bulgarian Red Cross.

In Bulgaria, a significant portion of Ukrainian refugees are older persons and individuals with disabilities, with women and girls comprising the majority. Efforts to mitigate risks and prevent gender-based violence are critical, along with enhanced child protection interventions. While a substantial percentage of working-age refugees are employed, barriers like language training and skills recognition hinder their socio-economic integration. Language barriers and high healthcare costs pose challenges for refugees accessing healthcare services, and according to the inter-agency assessments, a notable percentage of households in Bulgaria report experiencing mental health issues, emphasizing the need for mental health support for refugees. Additionally, a low enrollment rate of school-age refugee children in Bulgaria highlights the urgent need to prioritize education for this vulnerable group.

In support of the government's response and leadership, the RRP emphasizes the continued needs in the refugee response, particularly in the priority sectors of basic needs, protection, livelihoods and socio-economic inclusion, health, and education – and the cross-cutting priority sectors of mental health and psychosocial support and protection from sexual exploitation and abuse.

The financial appeal of US$ 38.6 million for Bulgaria's 2024 RRP targets 70,000 refugees who may need assistance in Bulgaria, including those currently in the country and those who may arrive in uncertain times ahead in Ukraine.

In recent years, the number and diversity of humanitarian and development organizations working in refugee contexts has expanded. To ensure assistance is coordinated coherently and complementary, UNHCR leads the development of Refugee Response Plans (RRPs). These plans support host governments to protect and assist refugees in large and complex refugee situations through international solidarity, facilitating a unified approach to addressing the multifaceted needs of displaced populations.

The Bulgarian chapter of the 2024 RRP which launches today in Sofia, is part of the humanitarian response for Ukraine coordinated by the United Nations and was launched in Geneva on 15 January 2024.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) coordinates the Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan for the response inside Ukraine targeting 8.5 million people. UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, coordinates the Regional Refugee Response Plan targeting 2.3 million refugees and host communities in 10 countries, including Bulgaria.

“The RRP represents a critical lifeline for refugees from Ukraine," said Refugee Coordinator Seda Kuzucu. "We call on all stakeholders to join us in supporting this vital initiative and together we can make a meaningful difference in the lives of refugees."

The launch of the Bulgarian chapter of the 2024 RRP will be live-streamed on UNHCR Bulgaria’s Facebook page from 15:00 to 16:00.


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Tags: Ukraine, humanitarian, support, organizations, refugees

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