**Kyiv 23th October 2017 - European Union together with international humanitarian organizations People in Need, Action Contre La Faim, Médecins du Monde and ACTED in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives will provide additional humanitarian assistance to over 163,000 people on both sides of the contact line in Ukraine. The European Union is providing €4.1 million in support of this initiative. **
The armed conflict in eastern Ukraine is now in its fourth year. The conflict has led to staggering humanitarian needs, claimed over 10,000 lives (nearly 3,000 civilian) and damaged critical civilian infrastructure. Thousands of civilians living close to the contact line are still suffering under shelling. Many citizens face significant challenges as a result of the suspension of social and financial services in the divided parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions. Restrictions on movement of people and goods across the contact line make life extremely difficult for people living in the eastern regions.
An estimated four million people are in need of humanitarian support, and while humanitarian groups are doing their best to meet needs, there is a serious lack of funding and international attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis. Protracted displacement is a challenge and lack of livelihood opportunities forces some Internally Displaced People (IDPs) to return to insecure areas. The main challenges for aid organizations are providing assistance to **1,583,827 registered IDPs **in Ukraine (by April 25th, 2017) and accessing to those in need living on the other side of contact line.
The situation in the Donbass (Eastern) region exposes and aggravates systemic and structural flaws that, in turn, negatively impact the humanitarian situation. This drawn out crisis has weakened people’s ability to cope. Therefore, the role of the international humanitarian actors is critical.
“We are providing life-saving humanitarian assistance to people living along the line of contact,” explains Schafer Bomstein, Head of ACCESS Consortium. “Tens of thousands are exposed to daily clashes which affects their access to basic services and humanitarian organisations are providing a life-line to these people,” adds Bomstein.
Samuel Marie-Fanon, Head of the EU Civil Protection & Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO) in Kyiv said:_ “Our partners continue to provide vital assistance to the people of Ukraine affected on both sides of the line of contact. The EU remains committed to provide humanitarian assistance to all those in need in Eastern Ukraine.”_
This project will provide mutli-sectoral assistance, including restoring livelihoods, access to drinking water, health and psychosocial services, and rehabilitation of shelters.
ACCESS multisectoral humanitarian assistance
In May 2017, four major international organizations including People in Need (PIN), Action Contre La Faim (ACF), Médecins du Monde (MDM) and ACTED in partnership with IMPACTInitiatives launched a new Consortium project called ACCESS to provide multisectoral humanitarian assistance for conflict-affected populations in Eastern Ukraine. The project, funded by the EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), aims to capitalize on each organization's respective technical expertise in various sectors and to further improve relief response through better coordination and synergy.
"This new partnership is an opportunity for these NGOs to share their experience and know-how to meet the needs of extremely vulnerable people in Eastern Ukraine. It comes at a critical time when despite significant humanitarian needs, the crisis in Ukraine has mainly been forgotten by the international community," explains Schafer Bomstein, Head of ACCESS Consortium. All humanitarian work by ACCESS project will be in line with the core humanitarian principles such as humanity, neutrality, impartiality, and independence. This will strengthen access to basic services for 163,775 citizens living in conflict affected regions of Ukraine.
Access to job and markets
Using a coordinated response, the partners will help those who have lost their jobs due to the conflict or find themselves cut off from markets where they used to sell their goods. “I used to work in the Luhansk hospital as a nurse. Since the territories are separated and there is no road connection with Luhansk any more, how could I reach my job? I am now unemployed,” says Larissa, a resident of Triokhizbenka who will receive support from ACF in the framework of the ACCESS project.
Cash to restore livelihoods
The partners will provide cash assistance, food vouchers and kits to the most vulnerable households to enhance income generation and improve resilience. The project will offer small livelihoods restoration grants to the rural households in the grey zone who are willing to improve self-reliance in animal husbandry, crop cultivation, farm infrastructure and small machinery. "Our old cow got sick after difficult calving so she can simply die at any moment. If we will lose her, we will be left without a piece of bread, because selling dairy products is my only income. My husband, a herdsman, only has a seasonal job. With cash support we were able to buy a young cow and some feed for her," says Larisa Ivanovna (53), who lives in a small farm in the village of Vladimirovka. Beneficiaries will also receive training in their respective fields to increase their practical knowledge and get them back to work, as well as provide jobs for others.
Water for frontline villages
For people who cannot access adequate amounts of water in villages or small cities of the frontline, the Consortium will provide drinking water. Partners will support the repair of critical water systems that have been damaged by the conflict. **The project will also provide hygiene kits for people with special needs and rehabilitate sanitation infrastructure for social institutions **(schools, clinics, etc.) that was damaged as a result of the conflict. "Danusya hosted me two years ago, when my flat was damaged due to the fighting. She is 79 and can only move with a walker—so I remained here to help her. Now, thanks to the hygiene kit and diapers, I can take better care of her," says Grigoriy Ivanovich (81) years old villager from Netailovo.
Shelter for affected families
Rehabilitation of housing is another major concern. Over 20,000 to 25,000 households have been destroyed in the government-controlled areas. Damages are expected to be similar or worse in non-government controlled areas due to the urban nature of frontline communities and the limited humanitarian access to rural areas. Under the current project, families whose houses were affected by shelling will receive reconstruction and reparation support. Partners will also distribute cash grants for repairs of war-damaged homes, window installation, solid fuel furnaces and provision of firewood in wintertime. Social institutions will receive repairs to cover much-needed insulation to enable municipalities to provide centralized heating during winter.
Access to health and psychosocial services
The ACCESS project will contribute to durable solutions and mitigating existing protection risks for IDPs and conflict affected populations of Donbass. To this end, the project will improve access to quality health, mental health and psychosocial services, strengthen the medical system, referral support and hot-line counselling for those who are in need, donate consumables and medical equipment, provide care practices and specialized trainings for health and non-health staff from communities affected by the conflict.
Advocacy to bring attention to the crisis in Ukraine
The Consortium partners, ACF, PIN, ACTED and MDM, are also engaged in significant advocacy efforts to bring attention to the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. These efforts are aimed at influencing the decision-making process on the international and national levels in Ukraine.
People in Need (PIN) www.peopleinneed.cz is one of the biggest non profit organizations in Central Europe focusing on humanitarian aid, development, cooperation, human rights and social integration. PIN has a long-lasting presence in Ukraine starting from 2003 and was in position to provide immediate humanitarian assistance after the onset of the conflict in August 2014. PIN has been implementing a number of emergency food, NFI, shelter, protection, livelihoods, WASH, medical and cash-based interventions along and on both sides of the frontline.
Action Contre La Faim (ACF) www.actioncontrelafaim.org is an international non- governmental organisation fighting hunger in the world established in 1979. Its mission is to save lives by eradicating hunger through the prevention, detection and treatment of malnutrition, particularly during and after emergencies related to conflict and natural disasters. ACF has opened a mission Ukraine in the end of 2014 and has been operational since summer 2015 establishing multi-sectorial humanitarian intervention to provide food assistance, access to water and hygiene products as well as psychological support for people affected by the conflict.
**Doctors of the World UK **(DOTW/MdM) www.doctorsoftheworld.org.uk) is the British chapter of the Médecins du Monde global network. DOTW/MdM is an independent humanitarian movement working in the United Kingdom and abroad to empower excluded people to access healthcare. DOTW/MdM provides medical care, strengthens health systems and addresses underlying barriers to healthcare. MdM has been operating in Luhansk oblast of Ukraine since August 2015.
ACTED www.acted.org is a French humanitarian organization present in 35 countries and supporting over 11 million beneficiaries. We work to save lives and support people in meeting their needs in hard to reach areas. In Ukraine, ACTED with its partner IMPACT responded to the crisis through the REACH Initiative by providing information management and assessment support for evidenc-based aid planning and delivery. ACTED/REACH led the interagency humanitarian needs assessments to inform the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan. Additionally, ACTED/REACH are providing information management support and capacity building to humanitarian agencies and clusters through its IM Hub in Sloviansk.
The European Union with its Member States is a leading global donor of humanitarian aid. Through the European Commission’s Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations(ECHO)https://ec.europa.eu/echo/, the EU helps over 120 million victims of conflict and disasters every year. With headquarters in Brussels and a global network of field offices, ECHO provides assistance to the most vulnerable people solely on the basis of humanitarian needs, without discrimination of race, ethnic group, religion, gender, age, nationality or political affiliation.
For further information please contact:
Schafer Bomstein, Head of ACCESS Consortium, Schafer.Bomstein@peopleinneed.cz +380996648508
Samuel Marie-Fanon, Head of Office, EU Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations (ECHO), Samuel. Marie-Fanon@echofield.eu , +380 - +38-97 1859766
Mathias Eick, ECHO Global Information Officer, Mathias.Eick@echofield.eu, Tel.: +90-5334125663
Petr Stefan, People in Need Communication Officer, Petr.Stefan@peopleinneed.cz +420 608 817 958
Other resources about the humanitarian situation in Ukraine: