Ukraine Humanitarian Overview Needs and Response Analysis (January - May 2017)
Despite ongoing peace efforts, daily clashes and rapid escalation of hostilities prevail, as conflict continues to claim lives and generate more needs. Shelling of critical infrastructure, such as hospitals, schools, water and energy supply systems and houses is reported almost daily. Multiple disruption of water supply alone has affected more than 3 million people since the beginning of 2017. In addition to daily hardships as direct impact of the conflict, legislative impediments and bureaucratic bottlenecks prevail, particularly for people to claim social benefi ts, including pensions. As of 1 January, some 450,000 people have been reportedly deprived of social benefits due to cumbersome verification requirement while this is the only source of income for thousands of those most vulnerable. Shrinking humanitarian access in non-Government controlled areas (NGCA) further degraded the lives of millions trapped in an increasingly isolated economic zone, compounded by political factors, such as the railway blockade by veterans and the ‘nationalisation’ of Ukrainian companies in NGCA by the de facto authorities.
Funding for life-saving activities remains critically low, impacting the abilities of partners to deliver the muchneeded assistance, and ultimately, the lives of millions affected by this protracted yet active conflict.
Simmering confl ict, marked by sporadic clashes, continues to generate additional multi-dimensional needs in the areas of concern. Widespread protection concerns prevail, as legislative and bureaucratic impediments deprived many of access to social bene fi ts, which, for most, is the only source of income to cover the basic cost of living.
Freedom of movement is severely hindered by multiple bottlenecks, aggravating the wellbeing of thousands crossing the ‘contact line’ daily. Cases of discrimination against Internally Displaced People (IDPs) and limited access to benefits leave hundreds in state of despair. Amidst daily hostilities, confl ict-affected people’s access to basic life-saving services, such as food, health, water and education is also becoming more challenging. An estimated 3 million people have been affected by periodic water cuts. Disruptions in water supply and unstable irrigation is also likely to result in reduced harvest production, increasing risk of food insecurity of the most vulnerable. At the same time, more than 7,000 km2 of land close to the ‘contact line’ remains contaminated by mines and explosive remnants of war, putting civilians at risk and preventing access to agricultural land. Confl ict has had a signi fi cant negative impact on the economy with the level of poverty by actual cost of living seeing an increase from 20 to 74 per cent in Luhansk and from 22 to 65 per cent in Donetsk from 2013 to 2015.
Damage to critical health and educational facilities leaves thousands without access to these services, further degrading their vulnerability. A total of 152 health facilities were damaged/destroyed since the beginning of the conflict (as of October 2016) while rehabilitation of those damaged facilities has likely been stagnant over the past year due to various reasons, including underfunding. At least 55 educational facilities have been directly impacted by continuous insecurity in 2017, disrupting access to education for thousands of children. Meanwhile, hostilities increased the need for various shelter interventions, with need for acute shelter repairs alone rising by 140 per cent of the initial target as of end of May. This is a concerning indicator, particularly in light of the upcoming harsh winter as the Shelter/NFI cluster partners estimated that only 20-33% of the most vulnerable in NGCA received winterizations assistance in 2016. This means not all the needs were sufficiently covered, while many newly damaged houses are still in hazardous security conditions. As per the estimates, this has a direct correlation with winterization needs prompting us to think that winterization interventions should begin early this year, as one of the main life-saving activity. However, shrinking humanitarian space, particularly in NGCA, and underfunding continue to severely affect partners’ ability to assist, meaning that millions dependent on aid were not reached, which, in turn, further exacerbated their humanitarian suffering.