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Ukraine: "Only with collective action we can help ease the struggle of 2.3 million men, women and children"

31 Jan 2019
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The United Nations Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Ms. Osnat Lubrani today launched an appeal requesting US$162 million to provide humanitarian aid and protection to 2.3 million most vulnerable people in eastern Ukraine in 2019. She was joined by the Deputy Minister of Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs, Mr. Georgy Tuka and the Ambassador of the European Union to Ukraine, Mr. Hugues Mingarelli, who stressed the severe consequences of the humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine and the need to scale-up response efforts.

“Five years of conflict have had a devastating impact on civilians,” Ms. Lubrani said. “We have come up with a collective plan, which we aim to implement in 2019, to address the most pressing needs of 2.3 million men, women and children, who require assistance the most, on both sides of the contact line”. 

The HRP is a strictly prioritized and comprehensive plan of action which lays out a roadmap for 43 UN, national and international organizations to implement a collective humanitarian action to provide aid to civilians across different sectors, such as food, shelter and household items, winterization support, access to clean water, education and adequate healthcare in 2019.

“UN-coordinated appeals over the last five years have mobilized more than US$460 million for humanitarian response, allowing UN and humanitarian partners to reach millions of people with life-saving assistance on both sides of the “contact line”,” Ms. Lubrani said. “As with previous years, our response plan is only useful if it is adequately funded,” she noted. “We are thankful to our donors for their support throughout the past five years and we appeal for this support to be strengthened so that we can reach every man, woman and child who counts on our assistance,” Ms. Lubrani stressed, calling for donors to scale up their support to humanitarian response in 2019.

Background

Active conflict continues to take a heavy toll on civilians, with over 3,300 men, women and children killed and up to 9,000 injured since 2014. Large stretches of populated areas are littered with landmines and explosive hazards, posing additional risk to millions of civilians every day. The contact line, which stretches some 427-kilometres in eastern Ukraine, prevents easy access to essential services, facilities and social benefits for thousands of people.

Five years of violence and restrictions have left 5.2 million Ukrainian men, women and children exposed to the consequences of a protracted protection crisis, directly or indirectly. Shelling and sniper fire are a daily fact of life for those living near the 427-km-long contact line. Huge stretches of populated areas in eastern Ukraine are littered with deadly landmines and explosive ordnance posing a lethal threat to over two million people, particularly those living near the contact line and five checkpoints where an average of one million civilian crossings occur each month. The line that divides what was once Ukraine’s thriving urban and industrial heartland, has also devastated service provision, markets, and social and economic networks. It led to difficulties obtaining civil documentation, such as death and birth certificates.

Paralysed economic activity is today forcing people to resort to stark and impossible choices between eating, accessing healthcare, buying coal or sending their children to school. The elderly, single-headed households with low income, people with disabilities and children are the most impacted. The elderly, who constitute 30 per cent of those in need, face immense challenges, especially when claiming pensions or other benefits. Households headed by people between 40 and 60 years are more vulnerable than ever due to widespread unemployment. The crisis has severely impacted people’s mental health and the psychological damage will take a long time to heal.

“It is only with collective and strengthened action that we can help ease the struggle of civilians and bring hope to those who need it the most,” Ms. Lubrani concluded.