The European Commission has allocated additional €10 million in humanitarian aid to support the most vulnerable people in eastern Ukraine ahead of the upcoming winter and in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. This brings EU humanitarian funding for eastern Ukraine in 2020 to €23 million.
Janez Lenarčič, EU Commissioner for Crisis Management, said: “*People in eastern Ukraine are preparing to survive the seventh winter while caught up in conflict. The coronavirus pandemic is making the humanitarian situation worse. EU aid will get essential supplies ahead of winter to the most vulnerable families. Ultimately, a political solution must be found and international humanitarian law respected by all.”*
Additional funding will help vulnerable population on both sides of the contact line prepare for the upcoming harsh winter and cover their basic needs. It will also improve the health sector, including the response to coronavirus, as well as continue to support Ukrainians who fled to the Russian Federation. The EU humanitarian assistance is channelled via UN agencies, NGOs, and the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Since March 2014, the conflict in Eastern Ukraine has affected over 5.2 million people, of whom 3.4 million are still in need of humanitarian assistance. Since the start of the conflict, the EU has allocated €165 million in humanitarian aid. The ongoing conflict continues to worsen the humanitarian situation for the population living on both sides of the contact line. People have difficulty to sustain their livelihoods and access food, while their mental health and psychosocial situation are also deteriorating.
The coronavirus pandemic further exacerbated the population's daily life as people cannot cross the line of contact to access pensions and other services. Indiscriminate shelling continues to hamper the provision of essential services, such as water and electricity, on both sides of the contact line. Ukraine ranks fifth in the world for civilian casualties linked to landmines and unexploded ordnances.
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