Ukraine: Humanitarian Snapshot (as of 15 August 2017)
Despite relative decrease in hostilities following the renewed ceasefire arrangements reached on 21 June, localized sporadic clashes are reported daily and continue to generate more casualties among the civilian population and damage to their properties. OHCHR verifies that at least seven civilians were killed and 42 injured in July. While usually, shelling is the major cause, mines, explosive remnants of war and unexploded ordnances represented at least 43 per cent of total casualties.
Amidst unceasing hostilities, critical civilian infrastructure continued to be affected. The WASH Cluster reported that the Donetsk Filter Station (DFS), supplying water to some 345,000 people on both sides of the ‘contact line’, stopped functioning at least 13 times since the start of 2017. In July alone, critical supply systems have stopped functioning on 11 occasions. Simmering heat season and continuous trend of water shortages increase not only WASH needs, but also potential public health risks. At a regular Minsk-led Trilateral Contact Group (TCG) meeting on 19 July, parties to the conflict expressed willingness to establish so-called ‘safety zones’ around key water infrastructure. While this development is positive, concerns as to full adherence to the arrangement persist, as at least two incidents of shelling were recorded only days after the TCG meeting took place, impacting key water supply systems.
Impact of the conflict is felt across the board. The Education Cluster reported that some 648,000 students and teachers in more than 3,400 educational facilities suffer from widespread impact of the conflict. According to the Shelter/NFI Cluster, due to deteriorating coping mechanisms in the government controlled area (GCA), the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) involuntary returning to areas along the ‘contact line’ has increased, and an estimated 9,326 households could require extra assistance such as basic winterization items. The Cluster further stressed that some 11,200 households require essential utility repair.
As conflict rages, cases of discrimination and violation of human rights of the most vulnerable, including IDPs, women and children, are continuously reported. Incidents of conflict-related sexual violence and gender-based violence (GBV) prevail, however, many of such cases usually go unreported. A briefing paper by the ‘Justice for Peace in Donbas’ Coalition covering the period of 2014 to late 2016 suggests that conflict has increased the level of GBV: of the 276 interviews conducted, at least 206 people (45 per cent men and 55 per cent women) became victims of the GBV.
Humanitarian partners face multiple challenges in their efforts to meet the growing humanitarian needs, including limited access in NGCA due to bureaucratic constraints and underfunding. As of 15 August, the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) is only 21 per cent funded. Underfunding not only prevents partners from implementing the planned programmes, but also forces some to cease their operations. Meanwhile, the Logistics Cluster is on verge of closing if the funding situation does not improve soon. Lack of funding also means that some of the critical seasonal projects are not being implemented, which may impact people’s livelihood opportunities in the long run. Additional funding is urgently required to jumpstart and sustain the much-needed winterization support in anticipation of the upcoming winter, which in Ukraine is regularly quite harsh.
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