The European Commission has announced an additional €3.5 million in humanitarian aid to support vulnerable people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the humanitarian situation, resulting in even more instability and vulnerability. In 2021, the Commission has allocated €29 million in humanitarian aid for eastern Ukraine.
Commissioner for Crisis Management, Janez Lenarčič said: "*People in eastern Ukraine continue to live in fear and struggle to meet their basic needs. The coronavirus pandemic has made the situation even worse, especially for elderly people, who are often among the most vulnerable*.* This additional funding will help them access healthcare and essentials, and prepare for the upcoming winter. The EU will support people in eastern Ukraine for as long as needed, but only permanent peace can bring a real solution.*"
EU Special Representative For Human Rights Eamon Gilmore, during his visit to Kramatorsk, Donetsk oblast, said: "*The European Union stands by the people of Ukraine, including the most vulnerable ones, in the face of the conflict and the COVID-19 pandemic. Humanitarian assistance is a key element of our support."*
The newly allocated €3.5 million announced today will help the most vulnerable people, including older people and persons with disabilities, meet their basic needs. It will also address access to health services, as well as psychosocial and mental health support. The aid will reach vulnerable people living on both sides of the contact line.
Since March 2014, the conflict in eastern Ukraine has affected over 5.2 million people, 3.4 million of whom are still in need of humanitarian assistance on both sides of the contact line. People have difficulty to sustain their livelihoods and access food, while the mental health and psychosocial situation is also deteriorating.
The COVID-19 pandemic has put an additional strain on the civilian population's already dire situation. Elderly people living in the conflict-affected areas, accounting for one third of the population, are particularly affected by the rundown healthcare system and the constraints to access pensions, protection services and legal support.
Occasional indiscriminate shelling along the contact line continues to damage critical infrastructure, schools, hospitals and houses, and hamper the provision of essential services, such as water and electricity. Ukraine ranks fifth in the world for civilian casualties linked to landmines and unexploded ordnances.
Since the start of the conflict, the EU has provided €194 million to help people in Ukraine.