Ukraine : a worrying waiting time


Every day there are more than 10,000 people crossing the “line of contact” between the area controlled by the Ukrainian government and the non-government controlled area.  The prolonged waiting time as well as the lack of infrastructure at the checkpoints leads to tension and medical complications.  Première Urgence Internationale has stepped in in order to provide basic healthcare.

The wait can sometimes last more than 24 hours. In order to cross the “line of contact” between the areas that are controlled and those that are not controlled by the Ukrainian government, the inhabitants have to wait long hours in difficult conditions.

At certain checkpoints, the crowd is immense

explains Viktoria Vernyhora, in charge of public relations for Première Urgence Internationale, “the administrative procedures are slow and the people who wait on buses or in cars are often exhausted”. Every day there are about 10,000 who make the journey to buy products and medicine, to receive their pensions or to visit friends and family. Certain checkpoints do not have facilities to offer a suitable welcome to the inhabitants. “In summer, temperatures can sometimes reach more than 30 degrees and in winter can drop to -25 degrees in Ukraine”, states Viktoria.

In Mayorsk. In a medical emergency, it takes 20 minutes for an ambulance to get to the checkpoint. The waiting time can create tensions between people irritated by these conditions.

Basic healthcare

To prevent the situation from worsening, Première Urgence Internationale, operating in Ukraine since 2015, has set up activities funded by OFDA/USAID since August 2016 at these transit points. In Mayorsk, near the “line of contact”, two first aid stations have been set up and a medical team has been put together to provide first aid. A heated tent was also set up in October so that people could get warm.


Latrines and water for washing hands have been provided and are maintained by the Première Urgence Internationale teams. Since the start of the project, the doctors and nurses have already tended to more than 3,400 people suffering from acute and chronic pain, cardiac diseases or even hypertension, with more than 25% of these people being over 65. Last August and September, seven patients were sent to Bakhmut hospital to receive extra care. Around 300,000 people have benefitted from the water and hygiene infrastructures.

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