Intense fighting and bombardments are ongoing in eastern and southern Ukraine while missile attacks continue across the country.
The UN, in coordination with ICRC, supported the evacuation of civilians sheltering at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and nearby areas
WHO warns that the negative impacts of first the COVID-19 pandemic and now the conflict on health care and vaccination rates increase the risk of outbreaks of diseases.
As of 5 May, the UN and humanitarian partners have reached over 5.4 million people across Ukraine.
As of 1 May, WFP has reached nearly 920,000 people with food through the distribution of rapid response rations.
Situation Overview as of 12 p.m. on 5 May
General humanitarian situation. Intense fighting and bombardments continued to affect multiple areas across Ukraine, mainly reported in eastern Ukraine – in Donetska, Kharkivska and Luhanska oblasts – but also in the south, while the overall security situation continued to deteriorate. Several missile strikes were reported across the country, hitting civilian infrastructure and leading to civilian losses. On 3 May, several missiles were reported to have struck the western city of Lviv (Lvivska oblast), where dozens of UN and humanitarian partners’ staff are now based. On the same evening, there was also a reported missile attack on railway infrastructure in Kirovohradska oblast in central Ukraine – at a major junction for trains evacuating civilians – and in other oblasts, including, for the first time, Zakarpatska oblast, Ukraine’s westernmost oblast.
Such wide-ranging, repeated missile attacks were frequently reported over the past week, reportedly affecting an industrial facility in Zaporizka oblast (south-east) on 26 April, an industrial site in Dnipropetrovska oblast (centre) and in the capital, Kyiv, on 28 April.
As hostilities continue unabated, thousands of civilians remain trapped in areas of active hostilities with limited opportunities to relocate to safer areas. The situation in eastern and parts of southern Ukraine remains particularly challenging due to active fighting and difficulties with agreeing on safe passages for civilians with relevant parties. Despite immense challenges, the UN, in coordination with ICRC, supported the evacuation of civilians sheltering at the Azovstal steel plant in Mariupol and nearby areas. The operation was carried out in coordination with the parties to the conflict and other relevant actors. The operation started on Friday, 29 April, with a joint UN/ICRC convoy and a fleet of buses reaching the plant the following morning. Further negotiations ensued, followed by a difficult journey out of Mariupol 230 kilometres north-west to Zaporizhzhia (Zaporizka oblast). By 3 May, 101 civilians had been successfully evacuated from the Azovstal factory in Mariupol, 69 of whom chose to join the convoy to Zaporizhzhia. An additional 58 people were permitted to join the evacuation convoy in the town of Manhush (Donetska oblast) along the way, so that on 3 May, the operation brought 127 evacuated civilians to Zaporizhzhia, where they received initial humanitarian assistance, including health and psychological care. On 4 May, Humanitarian Coordinator Osnat Lubrani confirmed that a new safe-passage operation to evacuate civilians stranded in Mariupol and other communities had been completed that day – and that over 320 more civilians from Berdiansk (Zaporizka oblast), Manhush, Mariupol, Tokmak and Vasylivka (Zaporizka oblast) had also arrived and were receiving humanitarian assistance in Zaporizhzhia.
Civilian casualties. As of 4 May, the number of civilian casualties since 24 February 2022 stands at 6,731, including 3,280 killed and 3,451 injured, according to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). More than half (3,422) of all casualties so far verified have been recorded in Government- and non-Government-controlled areas (GCA and NGCA) of Donetska and Luhanska oblasts. OHCHR believes that the actual number of civilian casualties across Ukraine is considerably higher, as the receipt of information from some locations where intense hostilities have been going on has been delayed and many reports are still pending corroboration.
Meanwhile, Ukraine’s Institute of Mass Information (IMI) reported that, with the death of a Radio Liberty journalist in a reported missile strike on a residential building in Kyiv on 28 April, 22 journalists have so far been killed since 24 February.
IMI said that seven journalists were killed in the line of duty – including four foreigners and three Ukrainians, five men and two women. It said the other 15 journalists – 13 men and two women – died not while performing their professional duties but rather as victims of shelling and shooting or, in the case of six of the men, as participants in the hostilities. The UN does not have the means to verify these numbers and particular cases.
Impacts on health care. The World Health Organization (WHO) warns that immediate steps are needed to prevent a measles outbreak due to the ongoing hostilities and low vaccination rates. It said that 85 per cent of eligible children in Ukraine received their first dose of measles vaccine in 2020 – which, while a significant improvement compared to the low of 42 per cent in 2016, is still below the recommended 95 per cent or higher each year to achieve and maintain herd immunity and protect the population. With first the COVID-19 pandemic and now the ongoing war leading to severe disruptions to the Ukrainian health system, including routine immunizations, WHO is seriously concerned about a potential measles outbreak, which could have devastating health consequences. WHO said immunization gaps among Ukrainian children, adolescents and adults led to measles outbreaks in 2012 and then again from mid-2017 to the end of 2019, when Ukraine had the second-largest measles outbreak reported globally. WHO said, despite the challenges, it is continuing to work with the Ukrainian Ministry of Health to provide COVID-19 vaccinations as well as routine vaccinations of children for a range of diseases, including measles, rubella, diphtheria and polio – and including of internally displaced children in 10 oblasts across the country.
- UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
- To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit https://www.unocha.org/.