Crossing the 457-km ‘contact line’ remains challenging for millions of women, men and children moving between the government (GCA) and non-government controlled areas (NGCA) of eastern Ukraine. Despite constant insecurity due to shelling, shooting, and mine/unexploded ordnance (UXO) contamination, approximately 1 million individual crossings were recorded in November 2017.
This is a 6 per cent decrease from October 2017. Most of the crossings are people seeking to maintain family ties, access basic goods and services, social benefits and pensions. Specific challenges in November include: the sharp drop in temperatures with the onset of winter and the impact from the reduced winter operating hours of the crossing points (EECPs). Roads are not well lit which also makes people feel unsafe whilst waiting. The facilities at the EECPs remain basic, particularly for the elderly, those with disabilities, children and pregnant women, who wait hours and sometimes days to cross. The facilities are often insufficient for dealing with times of high demand or non-existent in some locations. There is also increasing concern with the high level of mine and ERW contamination along the ‘contact line’ affecting hundreds of thousands of people.
On a positive note, ICRC completed partial reconstruction of the wooden pedestrian bridge at the EECP Stanytsia Luhanska in mid-December. This made the crossing more secure and less dangerous, especially in winter conditions. The pedestrian bridge is the only crossing point between the GCA and NGCA in Luhanska region, with over 8,000 people crossing on a daily basis. Some humanitarian agencies provide humanitarian assistance on both sides of the bridge and maintain first aid and heating points. However, much more is needed to meet the increased needs in this and other 4 official checkpoints that are located in Donetska province. It is hoped that the Zolote crossing point will reopen in the near future to provide car access in the Luhanska region to facilitate the movement of the civilian population.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.