(Brussels, 28 February 2018): The European Union, EU Member States, the European Parliament and International Organizations were today in Brussels briefed on the dire humanitarian situation faced by 4.4 million conflict-affected people in eastern Ukraine by the Ukraine Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and IDPs, the EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management, the United Nations Assistant Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator, and the UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine and other representatives.
The human toll of the armed conflict is appalling, with over 2,530 civilians killed and 9,000 injured. Thousands of homes, hundreds of hospitals, schools, and water and electricity facilities have been damaged due to the hostilities. The rapid and increased contamination of the conflict-affected area by mines and unexploded ordnances is threatening the lives and livelihoods of millions of Ukrainians. With one million crossings each month across the 457-km "contact line", thousands of people face delays and obstacles in accessing basic services, pensions, social benefits, and markets every day.
"There are millions of women, men and children in eastern Ukraine who are struggling to make it through the fourth winter of conflict. Some 200,000 people live under constant fear of shelling every day. With the highest proportion of elderly affected in the world, it is our obligation to reverse the unacceptable deprivation that they face," said the UN Assistant Secretary-General and Deputy Emergency Relief Coordinator Ursula Mueller.
Disrupted access to critical facilities and diminished livelihoods mean that some 3.4 million people are without basic supplies and services and need assistance for protection and survival. "Four years of conflict have put a tremendous strain on the civilian population in eastern Ukraine," said the European Union Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. "We cannot overlook that there's a humanitarian crisis at the European Union's doorstep. Supporting all those in need, wherever they are, is a priority for the EU. Our new aid package will provide essential assistance such as food, healthcare and education for children."
Some 1.6 million Ukrainians have been displaced across the country. Many families cannot return home due to hostilities or lost livelihoods. They also struggle to access for example housing and employment in host communities. Ukraine Minister for Temporarily Occupied Territories and Internally Displaced Persons, Vadym Chernysh, expressed in Brussels the Ukraine Government's appreciation of and support to the ongoing humanitarian activities to assist affected and displaced people. "We are thankful to our friends - international and donor organizations, who continue to support the Government at this difficult time to address the needs of millions of Ukrainians affected and displaced," said Mr. Chernysh.
Last December, humanitarians in Ukraine consolidated a comprehensive and prioritized US$187 million Humanitarian Response Plan that sets out the urgent need to reach 2.3 million vulnerable Ukrainians with assistance and protection throughout 2018. The UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Neal Walker, stressed that "in 2017, we provided aid to 1.1 million of the most vulnerable Ukrainians. We wanted to do much more. Today, I commend EU Member States for their support, but I urge immediate bolstering of solidarity by supporting our collective efforts in helping the people of Ukraine in the very continent we share".
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