In November 2017 there were 4.4 million men, women and children affected by the armed conflict in east Ukraine, of whom 3.4 million required humanitarian assistance and protection.
Despite sustained efforts to negotiate a ceasefire, conflict-related civilian casualties and incidents affecting civilian infrastructure continued unabated throughout the month. Between January and November 2017, 552 conflict-related civilian casualties (98 killed and 454 injured) were recorded by OHCHR, 117 conflict incidents affected critical water and sanitation facilities, and 56 education facilities were damaged, destroyed or temporarily closed due to insecurity. Over 700 houses have been newly damaged between March and August 2017, while up to 130 health facilities require rehabilitation.
The severity of humanitarian needs are worsening in key sectors as winter sets into east Ukraine. As the temperatures have dropped below freezing, people’s daily kilo calorie (kcal) requirements have increased. Yet, at the same time the price of food and utilities traditionally reaches the highest levels in both government (GCA) and non-government controlled areas (NGCA). Significantly higher unmet food needs were evident during winter 2016-2017, with as many as 23% of households in both GCA and NGCA reporting that they lacked adequate food to meet their basic needs at the height of winter. With lack of income, limited access to heating and insufficient self-production, November signals the time when food supplies diminish and needs increase, especially for non-earning households, children and the elderly.
The frequent shelling and skirmishes directly affecting water facilities and electricity lines increases the risk that the centralised heating systems of towns may stop, at a time when temperatures decrease as low as -20 degrees Celsius. Together with the avoidance and non-targeting of civilian infrastructure by the parties to the conflict, windows of silence and ceasefire are urgently required to enable the repair of the damaged section of the South Donbas Water Pipeline. It is located along the ‘contact line’ south of Avdiivka where 200,000 people at risk of having their heating cut off.
Despite urgent needs during the harsh east Ukraine winter months, the 2017 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) remains severely underfunded at 33 per cent ($69 million of the $204 million requirements funded). The shelter/NFI and WASH clusters are the most underfunded at only 10 per cent. Additional support is urgently required.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.