The humanitarian situation in eastern Ukraine remains critical. The hostilities picked up again on both sides of the ‘contact line’ after a relative lull in January, while harsh weather conditions, with temperatures plummeting to below -20 Celsius over the last week of February further deepened people’s suffering. Disruption of critical water and power supply infrastructure due to heavy snow or indiscriminate shelling meant that at least 70 settlements on both sides of the ‘contact line’ remained without heat or water, sometimes for days. Interruption of operations of the 1st Lift Pumping Station of the South Donbas Water Pipeline due to harsh weather alone left 100,000 people without water or heat for more than 24 hours. Of alarming concern is the incidents targeting staff and infrastructure at the Donetsk Filter Station (DFS) which supplies water to 345,000 men, women and children in eastern Ukraine. Between 6 to 14 March, the DFS staff was shot at on four occasions. While a temporary window of silence has been obtained, sustained safety and protection of civilian workers is necessary to avoid interruption of water and inter-dependent heating system. Protection and wellbeing of civilians remain a major concern, due to daily shelling and heightened risk of mines, Explosive Remnants of War (ERW) and Unexploded Ordnances (UXOs) explosion. OHCHR recorded 5 civilians killed and 20 injured in the first two months of 2018. While humanitarian needs of the most vulnerable conflict-affected people continue to rise, the human cost of the protracted crisis is largely forgotten. In order to break the impasse, on 28 February, the European Union for Humanitarian Aid and Civil Protection (ECHO) and the United Nations organized a high-level conference with an aim to bring the international attention to the plight of 4.4 million people affected. Over 100 participants from various European Union (EU) Member States, International Organizations and the UN agencies attended the conference, where the EU announced EUR 24 million to the humanitarian response in Ukraine in 2018.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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