Four years into the violent conflict in eastern Ukraine, 500,000 children remain in need of immediate humanitarian assistance.1 Daily breaches of the ceasefire agreement have left more than 200,000 children and their families at risk of regular physical violence.2 Since the beginning of the conflict, more than 700 educational facilities and 130 medical points have sustained damage due to shelling.3 Ceasefire violations also frequently damage and disrupt critical water, sanitation, electrical and heating infrastructure, challenging access to safe drinking water for 3.4 million people in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.4 Educators and social workers increasingly struggle to meet the psychosocial support needs of more than 100,000 boys and girls. Health service networks remain either seriously disrupted or completely severed which, when combined with already low vaccination rates, raises the risk of disease outbreaks.5 The conflict-affected Donetsk region has among the highest rates of HIV infection in Europe. Humanitarian access to non-government-controlled areas remains challenging. Although explosive remnants of war are concentrated along the front lines, they continue to pose a danger to children throughout Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.
UNICEF will continue to strengthen the resilience of children, provide life-saving support and build the long-term capacities of communities and institutions in conflict-affected areas of Ukraine. UNICEF remains committed to ensuring access to gender-specific and age-sensitive education, as well as safe learning spaces with water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) facilities, community-based protection services and immediate psychosocial support for the most vulnerable boys and girls. Primary health care services along the front lines will be supported through partner mobile teams, community engagement and cash voucher systems. Treatment of adults and children living with HIV and prevention of mother-to-child transmission of HIV remain key objectives, as does the promotion of infant and young child feeding in emergencies. Displaced and host communities facing serious constraints to accessing safe drinking water will be supported through the provision of chemicals for treatment plants, emergency repairs of damaged infrastructure and the creation of alternative decentralized water sources. UNICEF will continue to lead the WASH and education clusters and the child protection sub-cluster and contribute to the health cluster, and HIV/AIDS and mine action sub-clusters. Collaboration with governments and partners will also be strengthened at all levels.
Results from 2017
As of 31 October 2017, UNICEF had US$14.7 million available against the US$31.2 million appeal (47 per cent funded).6 UNICEF collaborated with non-governmental organizations and utility companies to ensure access to safe drinking water for more than 962,000 people in both government-controlled and non-government-controlled areas through the provision of reagents and equipment for the repair of damaged infrastructure. Some 160,000 people living in the settlements closest to the front line, including 30,000 children, benefitted from cash vouchers and hygiene education. More than 82,000 children, youth and caregivers living within 15 km of the front line received psychosocial support through schools, mobile teams and community-based outreach. Life-saving mine-risk education reached more than 700,000 children and their families. More than 138,000 boys and girls benefitted from the rehabilitation of 87 schools and kindergartens and the provision of educational materials to the most vulnerable school facilities within 5 km of the front lines. In addition, more than 3,800 parents and teachers received training on life skills and education in emergencies. UNICEF remains the main provider of life-saving antiretroviral drugs, covering more than 11,000 people in non-government controlled areas.
UNICEF is requesting US$23,599,000 to meet the humanitarian needs of conflict-affected children in eastern Ukraine in 2018. The funds received in 2017 were instrumental to UNICEF's response in Ukraine, and the funding urgently requested for 2018 will allow UNICEF to continue to address the critical humanitarian needs of children and women. Continued and timely donor support will facilitate the provision of critical mine-risk education, psychosocial support and access to education, quality maternal health services, antiretroviral drugs and WASH services for the most vulnerable children in non-government controlled areas and on both sides of the front lines.