The situation along the “contact line” continues tense in many locations, with incidents reported mostly in Donetsk Airport, Horlivka, Kominternove. The United Nations Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine (HRMMU) recorded 141 civilian casualties between September and December (37 killed and 104 injured). Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and Improvised Explosive Devices (IEDs) remain the main threat accounting for 80 per cent, or 113 civilian casualties during this period. In total, from mid-April 2014 to 31 December 2015, HRMMU recorded 30,072 casualties (9,144 killed) in the conflict area of eastern Ukraine.
There are continuing difficulties for civilians to cross the frontline. While the Government has made some improvements, including setting up an electronic system to obtain the passes in September 2015, increased a number of staff and expanded some of the crossing points, the situation remains of serious concern.
A December inter-agency checkpoint assessment in Donetska oblast confirmed that the majority of people crossing the ‘contact line’ into GCAs are elderly, many with restricted mobility, single women, families with children and a few single men. People have to stand in long queues for many hours in the cold, with no access to basic services, in areas contaminated with landlines and often insecure. Major gaps in information provision remain and the overall conditions for waiting are still poor, despite the installation of heating points by State Emergency Service. The HCT recommended to immediately increase the number of crossing points, especially in Luhanska oblast; significantly simplify the procedures to obtain the passes and to go through checkpoints; increase the staffing at checkpoints to minimise the queues, increase opening hours of checkpoints, increase public awareness on functioning of checkpoints and complaint mechanisms; establish clear responsibility for security of civilians at checkpoints to address some protection concerns as trenches do not offer enough protection in case of shelling; fast track the elderly, disabled and children; waive restrictions of the weight and amount of goods transported; and waive all requirements for civilians residing in the buffer zone. According to the HCT, local authorities also should ensure the provision of water, basic medical and sanitary services at checkpoints, urgent MRE, demarcation and removal of mines near the logistics centres and the checkpoints, warrant guarantees for full unimpeded access for humanitarian organisations through the checkpoint into no-man’s land.
Access in NGCA continues also to be problematic, with few agencies officially authorised to operate there. Despite the existing bureaucratic difficulties compounded by severe weather conditions, in November-December, the UN distributed around 2,500 MT of humanitarian aid to NGCAs of Luhansk (2,200MT) and Donetsk, sufficient to provide over 100,000 people with food and vouchers, and many others with heating fuel, shelter materials and medicines. Over 2,600 MT of urgent relief items are in the pipeline and will be delivered in the coming weeks.
As December temperatures plummeted to -20 degrees Celsius, UN partners provided 4,251 winterisation cash grants; 1,130 households received insulation for their houses, and coal and firewood was delivered for 6,545 households. Overall in 2015, more than 507,000 individuals received food assistance, including food parcels, cash and vouchers. During the year, Education Cluster partners reached 1 million children by renovating educational facilities damaged by the conflict, delivering educational supplies for over 235,000 pre- and school-aged children, and increasing the number of spaces in kindergartens for IDPs.
By the end of 2015, donors disbursed and pledged about US$167 million to the 2015 Humanitarian Response Plan, an increase of $8 million since the end of November 2015. The total amount of funding and pledges is equivalent to 53 per cent of the $316 million required. This includes about $158 million (50 per cent) disbursed and another $9.2 million pledged (3 per cent). The shortfall is $148.6 million, or 47 per cent. The official launch of the 2016 HRP is pending results of discussion with the Government
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.