(Kyiv, 22 March 2021) Today marks exactly one year since the almost complete closure of all crossing points in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions as part of measures to contain the spread of COVID-19. The closure has led to a drastic 97 per cent decrease in the number of people able to cross the “contact line” compared with before 21 March 2020.
The measure intended to help save people’s lives has hit hard the livelihoods of hundreds of thousands of conflict-weary people. The restrictions on movement are dividing families and exacerbating their conflict-induced depression, anxiety and stress. After 12 months of stringent movement restrictions, it is clear that the conflict-affected people are reaching a breaking point. They desperately need humanitarian assistance to hold on until life can return to some form of normality.
The humanitarian community in Ukraine continues its efforts to ensure that all people in need, wherever they reside, receive appropriate support and in a timely manner. All relevant actors must facilitate the transit and delivery of humanitarian relief. On-going restrictions on the ability of humanitarian actors to assist people in areas beyond Government control prevent the people in need from getting the help they need and deserve.
I count on the commitment of all actors to avoid politicization of humanitarian aid and ensure that all urgently needed critical assistance that is ready to be delivered, including lifesaving health supplies, is permitted to reach those in need in accordance with International Humanitarian Law.
For further information, please contact:
Lizaveta Zhuk, UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in Ukraine, firstname.lastname@example.org, tel. +380 50 344 16 94