The United Nations Office for Project Services (UNOPS)
Responding to needs in fragile and conflict-affected settings
Over the course of 2023, working with the UN family and partners, we responded to help vulnerable communities across the world. Here is a selection of these stories.
Read more on how we’re supporting vulnerable communities affected by the conflict in Ukraine – and helping to lay the foundations for a sustainable future.
In Ukraine, as the conflict continues, millions of people across the country have been left without access to basic services such as electricity and heating. With much of the country's infrastructure destroyed or severely damaged, providing support to affected communities is an urgent priority.
“It’s great that help is coming our way, and we are incredibly grateful,” says Vasyl Maslii. “I just hope all the essentials are done by the winter, and no more damage is inflicted in the meantime.”
The conflict in northern Ethiopia has had a devastating impact on millions of people and left communities, including those in Tigray, without access to basic services. UNOPS is implementing a project aimed at rebuilding and improving access to basic services and climate-resilient community infrastructure, working with local committees to rehabilitate and improve access to social services such as water, sanitation, health and education, to support more than 365,000 people.
Since 7 October 2023, the escalation of hostilities in Gaza has created appalling human suffering, physical destruction and collective trauma across Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Some 1.9 million people – 85 per cent of Gaza’s population – have been forced from their homes (as of 22 December 2023).
In support of the ongoing humanitarian response to the situation in Gaza, in partnership with the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East, UNOPS is procuring and delivering fuel to enable humanitarian response in critical sectors such as health, food, water, sanitation and hygiene. In addition, UNOPS is providing operational support to the UN mine action team – enhancing the security of high-risk UN and World Health Organization missions across Gaza, and bringing mattresses and blankets for distribution to affected communities.
“The situation for humanitarian workers in Gaza is beyond impossible. I cannot commend enough the dedicated colleagues undertaking response activities in these conditions. We are committed to staying and delivering for the people of Gaza, enabling access, enhancing security, and bringing fuel and will do so wherever we can,” says UNOPS Executive Director Jorge Moreira da Silva.
Less than half of Haiti’s population has access to electricity. UNOPS is working with partners to equip five hospitals – together delivering healthcare services for more than 500,000 people in the country, with hybrid solar power systems providing the facilities with a clean, reliable source of energy. On average, the hospitals will be able to run for up to 20 hours on electricity generated entirely by these systems.
"The solar power systems play a critical role in the operation of these hospitals – over-reliance on diesel to generate electricity is being significantly reduced and essential activities such as emergency care, surgery and maternity services are able to continue uninterrupted," says Dabagai Dabagai, UNOPS Country Director in Haiti.
Read more: Powering hospitals in Haiti
In Pakistan, the impact of the 2022 floods continued to be felt. Damage was widespread, with communities in rural areas being particularly hard hit. The UN estimated that the once-in-a-generation weather event claimed over 1,700 lives and affected the lives of 33 million more. At its peak, the floods left a third of the country under water and marooned entire regions.
“When the water reached five feet, then we didn't go back. What we brought, we had, what we lost was lost,” says Mir Muhammad Jamali.
Read more: A difficult lesson from the Pakistan floods
Over the past 8 years, the ongoing conflict in Yemen has left more than 20 million people in need of humanitarian assistance and has significantly deteriorated the health of people across the country. Maternal health, child malnutrition, immunization rates and outbreaks of communicable diseases, in particular, have worsened, putting additional strain on already overstretched health services. In Yemen, the rehabilitation of key public health facilities is enabling doctors to provide better care.
"The hospital could not provide efficient or high-quality services because it was dilapidated. We were facing a lot of difficulties in our work. Doctors would sometimes need to overprescribe antibiotics to try to prevent the spread of infectious diseases," says hospital director Dr. Majeda Al Kateeb.
"After the hospital was renovated, the situation changed drastically. Now, we are more comfortable. We can coordinate and organize our work better. The situation is completely different," says doctor’s assistant Sumia Taha.
Read more: Tackling a health crisis