GENEVA/KYIV, 19 February 2015 – The United Nations delivered 62 metric tons of humanitarian aid to Donetsk today. This includes essential hygiene items, warm clothes, blankets, condensed milk powder, drinking water, and medical supplies procured by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR), the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), and the World Health Organization (WHO).
Among the estimated 5 million civilians affected by the crisis in Ukraine, those people living in zones of active fighting are particularly vulnerable, as they have limited access to humanitarian assistance. This inter-agency convoy is only one of the many initiatives the UN and its humanitarian partners are undertaking to provide relief aid to those in need.
“The humanitarian needs in Ukraine are real and intense. I have just returned from a quick visit to eastern Ukraine. It is imperative we scale up: we are doing it. We revised the Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) and will launch it with support from Government and humanitarian actors in the coming days. We cannot reach vulnerable people, especially those in non-governmental controlled areas, without your funding and support", - stated Neal Walker, UN Resident Coordinator, Humanitarian Coordinator
“The conflict in eastern Ukraine has displaced more than one million people in Ukraine. However, many remain in the areas affected by fighting where infrastructure and housing are damaged and basic services collapsed. We hope that the assistance provided will alleviate the suffering of the neediest, in particular, those staying in the makeshift shelters,” stressed Vanno Noupech, UNHCR Deputy Representative for Belarus, Moldova and Ukraine.
“Children living in or displaced from conflict-affected areas continue to bear the brunt of the conflict,” said Giovanna Barberis, UNICEF Representative in Ukraine. “It is critical to have continuous humanitarian access to deliver aid to as many people and children in need as possible. Lack of food, water shortages, hampered access to medical facilities in the areas of ongoing fighting put children’s lives in danger, especially of the most vulnerable – children living in bomb shelters and institutions, children with disabilities, children affected by HIV,” she added.
“Health care and health services have gone through a dramatic strain in Ukraine’s conflict-affected areas,” said Dorit Nitzan, WHO Representative in Ukraine. “Access to care is extremely constrained due to physical destruction of health facilities, financial difficulties with professionals not receiving payments and patients unable to provide out-of-pocket payments, and a massive lack of medical supplies. With the generous support of the European Commission, Canada, Israel, the Global Fund and Estonia, WHO is working together with the health cluster partners, to fill these many gaps and provide a lifeline for people and patients needing access to care, vaccines, and other emergency and public health services".
Together with the humanitarian organizations operating in Ukraine, UNHCR, UNICEF, and WHO, are concerned with the absence of secured humanitarian access to deliver aid to children and families affected by the conflict across the country. Since March 2014, over one million people have been displaced within Ukraine. Of these, more than 134,000 are children. Displaced people affected by tuberculosis remain unmonitored and HIV-positive patients have no access to medication. In addition, diseases surveillance is broken and diseases outbreaks could reach catastrophic consequences.
With the continuing flow of the displaced population from the conflict-affected areas, the United Nations is scaling up assistance in areas of difficult access as well as in other zones that have already been reached.
United Nations in Ukraine works together with the people and the Government of Ukraine to protect the most vulnerable, and build peace for sustainable transformation in Ukraine. The United Nations Country Team (UNCT) in Ukraine is composed of representatives of 16 UN funds and programmes, specialized agencies and other UN entities accredited to Ukraine. www.un.org.ua, @un_ukraine.
UNHCR - The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, also known as the UN refugee agency, was established on December 14, 1950 by the United Nations General Assembly. It is mandated to lead and co-ordinate international action to protect refugees and resolve refugee problems worldwide. Its primary purpose is to safeguard the rights and well-being of refugees. It strives to ensure that everyone can exercise the right to seek asylum and find safe refuge in another State, with the option to return home voluntarily, integrate locally or to resettle in a third country. It also has a mandate to help stateless people. In more than six decades, the agency has helped tens of millions of people restart their lives. http://www.unhcr.org - @refugees - @refugeesmedia.
UNICEF – United Nations Children Fund promotes the rights and wellbeing of every child, in everything we do. Together with our partners, we work in 190 countries and territories to translate that commitment into practical action, focusing special effort on reaching the most vulnerable and excluded children, to the benefit of all children, everywhere. Follow UNICEF on Facebook and Twitter. For more information about UNICEF and its work visit: www.unicef.org
WHO – World Health Organisation is the directing and coordinating authority for health within the United Nations system. It is responsible for providing leadership on global health matters, shaping the health research agenda, setting norms and standards, articulating evidence-based policy options, providing technical support to countries and monitoring and assessing health trends. In the 21st century, health is a shared responsibility, involving equitable access to essential care and collective defence against transnational threats. Follow us on http://www.who.int; Facebook http://www.facebook.com/who; Twitter @WHO and http:// www.euro.who.int; Facebook https://www.facebook.com/WHOEurope; Twitter https://twitter.com/WHO_Europe @WHO_Europe
Contacts for additional information:
UN in Ukraine
· Victoria Andrievska, UN Communication Officer, +380504138404, Victoria.firstname.lastname@example.org
· Dan McNorton, UNHCR Geneva, + 41 22 739 8658, email@example.com
· Nina Sorokopud, UNHCR Kyiv, +38 044 288-9710, firstname.lastname@example.org
· Kristen Elsby, UNICEF Geneva, +41 22 909 5286, email@example.com
· Veronika Vashchenko, UNICEF Kyiv, +38 044 254 2439, firstname.lastname@example.org
· Cristiana Salvi, WHO Regional Office for Europe, +4545336837, email@example.com
· Ihor Perehinets, WHO Kyiv, +38 095 280 28 39, PEI@euro.who.int