Older people during the Ukraine war

Nova Kakhovka dam breach: significant risk to older people in Ukraine


The Nova Kakhovka dam breach poses a significant risk to older people due to the large number who have remained in the area since the Russian invasion last year.

Many will struggle with the required evacuation and relocation due to physical, sensory, and cognitive impairments and will require specific and targeted support if they are to be brought to safety.

While hundreds of thousands of lives have been affected by the breach – which will further aggravate the ongoing humanitarian crisis – older people are expected to face the greatest challenges from the flooding and loss of water and electricity supplies.

During this war, many older people remained in their homes, either because of reduced mobility or because they fear the uncertainty of displacement. They will need information and assistance in evacuation, as well as support in mitigating power and water outages. Their particular needs require specific arrangements to be made in the response efforts.

Dimitrije Todorovic, HelpAge International’s Ukraine Country Director.

HelpAge International is calling on those providing the emergency response to ensure that the rights and needs of older people are considered in their response plans.

This will require them to think of the following factors:

Evacuation must include support for older people with disabilities and other at-risk groups and their caregivers, particularly in hard-to-reach areas.

Emergency shelters and relief points must ensure prioritised and dignified reception of older people.

Support services must consider older people’s specific health, safety, psychosocial, and mobility needs, as well as further referrals to multi-sectoral agencies.

Relocation to temporary accommodation must take into consideration the requirements of older people and people with disabilities in consultation with them.

Communication with the people affected at all stages must be in a language they understand and information must be communicated via multiple mediums and in accessible formats.


HelpAge International has been supporting older people in Ukraine since 2014. We work in Zaporizhzhia, Donetsk, Dnipropetrovsk, Kharkiv, Lviv, Chernivtsi, and Ivano Frankivsk regions, including in shelters and collective centres for the displaced. Our staff and volunteers are supporting older people in our program areas to ensure their safety and access to services. We are also closely cooperating with local and international partners to further support and advocate for the rights of older Ukrainians in the face of the new wave of displacement.

Supporting older people in Ukraine

Find out more about our work in Ukraine.

Supporting older people in Ukraine