Harsh weather conditions significantly impacted the Entry-Exit Checkpoints (EECPs) capacity, mainly due to abundance of snow and impassability of roads. As a result, civilians had to wait longer under freezing temperatures to cross the ‘contact line’. Some 1.1 million individual crossings were recorded in December, which was a four per cent decrease, compared with the previous month. Checkpoints also had to extend operating hours to allow additional inflow of civilians and vehicles. In early December, the wooden pedestrian bridge at the EECP ‘Stanytsia Luhanska’ -- the only crossing point serving the entire Luhanska oblast -- was damaged by hostilities. There were no civilian casualties due to the incident and the damage was quickly fixed. However, this is a reminder of the serious risks civilians have to endure to cross the ‘contact line’. On 22 December, the body of an 80-year old female was found at the zero checkpoint checkpoint in the so-called ‘no-man’s land’ (the territory between GCA and NGCA crossing point) at the EECP ‘Maiorske’, although the cause of death was unknown. In 2018, over 50 people died or were injured by hostilities or suffered serious health complications while crossing the checkpoints.
Despite the ongoing reconstruction works at three checkpoints in Donetska oblast, crossing conditions remain challenging with lack of adequate access to critical services such as ambulance, heating points, water and sanitation facilities. On 26 December Martial Law was lifted in all in 10 oblasts, including Donetska and Luhanska. The Law did not impact the operations of the EECPs at GCA with humanitarian missions facilitated through a well-established Civil-Military Coordination mechanism.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.