The security situation in Ukraine deteriorated rapidly following the launch of a Russian Federation military offensive on 24 February 2022. The armed violence escalated in at least eight oblasts (regions), including Kyivska oblast and the capital city of Kyiv, as well as in the eastern oblasts Donetska and Luhanska which were already affected by conflict.
The intense military escalation has resulted in loss of life, injuries and mass movement of civilian population throughout the country and to neighbouring countries, as well as severe destruction and damage to civilian infrastructure and residential housing. Public service provision - water, electricity, heating and emergency health and social services - is under severe pressure, and people’s access to health care is limited by insecurity. Primary services such as banking, social transfers and transport have been affected, as have basic services, such as health, water, and electricity, and local administration. With the continuation of the military operation and mounting insecurity, supply chains are likely to be disrupted for a prolonged period of time. The ability of local authorities to sustain a minimum level of services has also been severely hampered, as employees have fled or can no longer access their workplace.
The ongoing armed violence and rapidly deteriorating security environment throughout the country has put hundreds of thousands of people’s lives at risk. The expansion of the conflict is projected to deepen and expand humanitarian needs among millions of Ukrainians. It is also exacerbating human suffering in eastern Ukraine, an area which has already been exposed to eight years of armed conflict, isolation of communities, deteriorating infrastructure, multiple movement restrictions, high levels of landmine and unexploded ordnance-contamination, and the impact of COVID-19. In these conflict-affected oblasts, some 2.9 million people were already in need of humanitarian assistance prior to the latest escalation in violence.
The humanitarian community has prepared for and is rapidly adapting to the unfolding situation, based on the Inter-Agency Contingency Plan updated in early 2022 ahead of the onset of the crisis. As anticipated in a worst-case scenario, the violence has prompted a steep escalation in needs and a significant expansion of the areas in which humanitarian assistance is required compared to the 2022 HRP. The type of needs and humanitarian activities required in Donetska and Luhanska oblasts have also shifted as a result of the new extent of hostilities.
For a rapid scale-up of principled and effective humanitarian response in existing and new areas of Ukraine for a duration of the three months from March to May 2022, humanitarian partners require US$1.1 billion to help more than 6 million people in need. Immediate and urgent funding will be crucial for meeting existing and new humanitarian needs of millions of civilians caught in the middle of escalated hostilities. The funding currently available for humanitarian operations in Ukraine is extremely limited, with the 2022 HRP funded with less than $18 million (9.2 per cent of requirements as of 26 February 2022).
Most affected areas
The escalating insecurity affects the capital and a vast area of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts, as well as multiple new locations referred to as “newly impacted areas”, including but not limited to Kyivska, Kharkivska, Khersonska, Mykolaivska, Odessa, Sumy, and Zhytomyrska oblasts.
The intensity of the armed violence in Ukraine is having a severe humanitarian impact on the population. As a result of insecurity, people are fleeing from their homes in high-risk and the most-exposed areas in search of safety, many of whom were already displaced multiple times by previous fighting. As of 27 February 2022, at least 368,000 people have already crossed into neighboring countries, according to UNHCR. Many more continue moving towards Ukraine’s borders.
Particularly vulnerable groups include older persons and persons with disabilities, who may be unable to flee or may stay in the impacted areas, resulting in risks to their lives, struggles to meet daily needs and challenges in accessing humanitarian assistance. Women and girls, already susceptible to various forms of gender based violence, particularly transactional sex, survival sex and sexual exploitation and abuse, will be even further at risk of gender based violence, including conflict related sexual violence. The remaining population, even those currently not directly affected by security incidents and fighting, are facing reduced or disrupted services, with water, heating, electricity supply as well as transportation and telecommunications badly affected. Health services – already massively weakened by the cumulative effects of years of conflict as well as the multiple waves of COVID-19 – have also deteriorated rapidly due to shortages of medical supplies and personnel relative to the current scale of needs. Access to emergency medical services, including reproductive health services, has become even more challenging amid insecurity. Local authorities’ capacities to provide social protection services are overstretched, partially due to the impact of the recent decentralization. The disruption of basic services, as well as significant infrastructure and economic losses, is not only exacerbating the pre-existing humanitarian situation, but also generating critical new humanitarian needs that must be addressed urgently.
In Donetska and Luhanska oblasts, most of the vulnerable population are older persons who, according to the demographics of the area and associated vulnerabilities analyzed and documented in the 2022 HNO and HRP, constitute over 30 per cent of people in need (the highest proportion compared to other global emergencies), with others being persons with disabilities, women and children. Due to the ongoing military offensive, males aged between 18 and 60 years old are banned from leaving the country, even if they manage to reach the border. There are reports of families being separated.
In summary, with the scale and direction of the ongoing military operation, 18 million people are projected to become affected, including up to 6.7 million people projected to be newly internally displaced. Of the affected population, 12 million people are expected to need humanitarian assistance, and 6 million with the most urgent humanitarian needs will be assisted with the resources required under this Flash Appeal, including 2.1 million IDPs covering the initial period of three months – during which time the 2022 HRP will be revised to incorporate new humanitarian needs arising from the escalation.
The Flash Appeal is based on the Inter-Agency Contingency Plan for Ukraine (last updated in January 2022). Building upon the 2022 HNO, the situation and needs analysis made use of pre-crisis and post-crisis secondary data, including ground observations and reports. The findings are summarized under the section “Main Humanitarian Needs” and detailed in the sectoral plans. Subject to the improvement of the security situation, inter-agency rapid assessments (IARAs) will be conducted and used to facilitate a shared understanding of the situation and prioritize immediate response according to emerging needs.
Response efforts of the host government
The ultimate responsibility for the provision of relief to population impacted by a humanitarian crisis rests with the Government that controls the affected territory. The Ukraine Flash Appeal complements the Government’s response. This recognizes the capacity of the Government, regional and local authorities and services, as well as efforts made to alleviate needs and enhance the rights of affected population under Government leadership prior to this escalation.
The Ministry for Reintegration of Temporarily Occupied Territories (MRTOT) is responsible for facilitating the coordination of the national relief and response efforts together with line ministries and relevant departments, supported by humanitarian partners.
Local authorities, particularly in western oblasts receiving people from affected areas, are monitoring movement of people and trying to accommodate and provide humanitarian response to the newly arrived, together with national and international humanitarian partners.
Support already received and delivered
Government authorities, local partners, private sector, churches, local civil society, community-based organizations and individuals are playing a pivotal role in providing immediate assistance. In the areas with ongoing humanitarian operations prior to the escalation, humanitarian partners have scaled up the response to mitigate the conflict’s impact by the provision of food assistance, protection services, access to safe water, shelter and NFIs and health care.
A Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) grant of $20 million and a Ukraine Humanitarian Fund (UHF) allocation of $18 million will support this Flash Appeal. On 24 February 2022, CERF already allocated $20 million for humanitarian assistance in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. The CERF allocation allows UN agencies and partners to further scale up humanitarian operations, particularly in new locations that have not previously been affected by hostilities before, and enhance supply chain capacity, in order to provide targeted humanitarian assistance to people affected by the recent surge in violence.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.