Since the third week of March, the five official entry/exit crossing points (EECPs) have remained closed as part of the measures introduced to curb the spread of COVID-19. The closure of EECPs has restricted the movement across the ‘contact line’ for civilians in both directions, and humanitarian staff and humanitarian convoys from Government-controlled area (GCA) to non-Government controlled area (NGCA). In April, some 143 civilians were granted humanitarian exemptions to cross the ‘contact line’ in both directions for medical reasons or to be reunited with family. It is not known how many civilians have expressed an intention to cross the ‘contact line’ under humanitarian exemptions.
Two UN-organized humanitarian convoys were sent to Donetska oblast (NGCA) during April. On 3 April, a convoy carried medical supplies, personal protective equipment (PPE), and hygiene items for healthcare and social facilities in Donetska and Luhanska oblasts (NGCA). Some of the PPE and medical supplies were transferred from Donetsk to Luhansk (NGCA) on 17 April. The second convoy carried more than 120 tons of food assistance.
A breakthrough agreement has been reached, allowing humanitarian organizations to transport relief items directly from GCA to NGCA, Luhanska oblast through the EECP ‘Stanytsia Luhanska.’ Donetska oblast (NGCA) does not currently permit humanitarian convoys to transit to Luhanska oblast (NGCA) and there are no EECPs that permit vehicles to cross directly into Luhanska oblast (NGCA). While the opening of ‘Stanytsia Luhanska’ EECP is a welcome development, trucks are not able to pass, requiring humanitarian actors to transfer relief items manually.
The movement of humanitarian actors from GCA to NGCA is currently not possible. An order issued by ‘de facto’ entities in Donetska oblast (NGCA) permitting staff members of the UN and other international organizations to cross the ‘contact line’ to Donetska oblast (NGCA) has not yet been approved in practice. UN staff movement from GCA to NGCA, Luhanska oblast, has also not been permitted.
Humanitarian services provided at the EECPs have been suspended. Partners continue to monitor EECPs and are on standby to provide the necessary support to prevent people from getting stuck at the EECPs. Meanwhile, the humanitarian community remains in close contact with the relevant actors to seek an indication of a clear timeline for the resumption of the EECPs’ work.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.