Humanitarian assistance in eastern Ukraine – Germany increases its support

Due to the conflict in eastern Ukraine, four million people are dependent on humanitarian aid. During the winter months, freezing temperatures make life even more difficult. Germany will therefore increase its assistance for 2020 by four million euros.

Dramatic impact on the civilian population

The conflict in eastern Ukraine has dramatically affected people’s daily lives – more than 13,000 people have died, and a further 9000 have been injured. Landmines, unexploded ordnance and booby-traps still pose a threat. According to United Nations estimates, more than four million people in Ukraine rely on humanitarian aid, in the form of food, water and basic everyday items. The situation is further complicated by the fact that many aid organisations cannot get to where the assistance is needed, because access is being denied by the separatists.

One and a half million people have fled eastern Ukraine. Those who remain are mostly elderly, ill, or have disabilities. The percentage of old people in the affected population is higher than for any other crisis in the world.

Six million euros for the ICRC in 2020

The Federal Foreign Office is therefore increasing its financial assistance for 2020 by four million euros, to a total of six million euros. The funds will support activities of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) that will in particular benefit people who are affected by the conflict on both sides of the contact line in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions – including many internally displaced persons and families in municipalities that have taken in refugees.

Priority is placed on ensuring that the population has access to safe drinking water and medical services. The latter effort includes distributing medication and providing hospitals and other healthcare facilities with equipment and supplies. Moreover, Germany is engaged in efforts to trace missing persons, family reunification, looking after prisoners and informing people about the dangers of mines and unexploded ordnance.

Germany is the largest bilateral donor

Through these efforts, and by providing a total of 95.7 million euros in aid since 2014, Germany has become the largest donor for tackling the humanitarian crisis in Ukraine. In 2019 alone, more than 21 million euros were provided to various aid projects, including those of Caritas, the German Red Cross and the World Food Programme. Ukraine will remain a focus of German humanitarian assistance in 2020.

In addition to this humanitarian assistance, some 40 million euros have been provided by the Federal Foreign Office since 2014 towards the political stabilisation of Ukraine. These efforts focus on strengthening civil society and promoting dialogue and reconciliation in eastern Ukraine.