The political situation in Ukraine remains tense and humanitarian access to nongovernment controlled areas (NGCAs) continues to pose a challenge. Breaches of the ceasefire agreement occur daily along the contact line,1 contributing to a volatile security situation that threatens further displacement. The conflict continues to impact nearly 4.4 million people in eastern Ukraine. Immediate humanitarian assistance is required for 3.8 million people, including 1 million children.2 UNICEF estimates that 200,000 children live within 15 kilometres of each side of the contact line,3 of which about 2 per cent are regularly forced to take refuge in improvised bomb shelters. Children are exposed to the risk of explosive remnants of war and landmines, and girls are particularly at risk of different forms of gender-based violence. UNICEF estimates that one school in five in NGCAs has been damaged and is in urgent need of repair. Given the extensive infrastructure damage, coupled with deepening poverty, access to safe drinking water remains a challenge for 2.9 million people in NGCAs alone.4 With primary health care services largely unavailable in rural areas and along the contact line, the risk of communicable disease outbreaks remains a concern.
UNICEF will continue to strengthen the resilience of conflict-affected children and provide life-saving support in Ukraine. This will include ensuring access to education, safe learning spaces, community-based protection services and immediate psychosocial support for the most vulnerable children. By working closely with partner organizations, schools, community centres and through mobile teams, the programme will also support primary health care services in conflictaffected areas. Treatment of adults and children with HIV and prevention of mother-to-child HIV transmission will remain key objectives. Access to safe drinking water for displaced and host communities will be supported through the provision of critical chemicals for treatment plants, including those previously supported by other partners, rehabilitation of infrastructure and the creation of alternative sources. UNICEF will promote infant and young child feeding in emergencies, while improving coordination mechanisms through its leadership in the education and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) clusters, the child protection sub-cluster and the nutrition working group. UNICEF will also contribute to the health cluster as well as the HIV/AIDS and mine action sub-clusters. Collaboration will continue with governments and partners at all levels.
Results from 2016
As of 31 October 2016, UNICEF had received US$26.6 million against the US$54.3 million appeal (49 per cent funded).5 UNICEF’s expanded capacity6 focused on the provision of psychosocial support to more than 207,000 children, youth and caregivers through school and community-based outreach interventions, with girls constituting 60 per cent of the total number. Life-saving mine risk education (MRE) sessions were provided to more than 250,000 children and their families. Rehabilitation of schools affected by the conflict and the provision of education materials and athletic equipment continued throughout the year. UNICEF reached 7,500 children in 29 educational facilities in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts by installing new heating systems to prepare facilities for winter. Warm clothing was delivered to 10,000 children from families facing poverty in settlements on the contact line. In partnership with non-governmental organizations and utility companies, UNICEF supported water quality improvement and the repair and rehabilitation of WASH infrastructure, reaching 2.5 million7 people in high-concern areas in both government-controlled areas (GCAs) and NGCAs, including exit-entrance checkpoints. UNICEF advocated with the Ministry of Health to procure vaccines for GCAs. Delivery of antiretroviral (ARV) medications covered more than 8,000 patients in NGCAs.8 UNICEF also supported more than 29,000 safe deliveries by providing midwifery kits covering both GCAs and NGCAs.