Ukraine: Situation report No.29 as of 27 February 2015

Situation Report
Originally published


● On 24 February, the revised Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) for Ukraine was launched, appealing for USD 316 million for 3.2 million of the most conflict- affected people.
● People in bunkers in Donetsk lack access to potable water, sanitation facilities and hygiene supplies. Several locations in the east still do not have access to water.
● An estimated 2,000 people have returned to Debaltseve; many who remained are traumatized. The UN and humanitarian partners are providing humanitarian assistance.

1 million registered IDPs

Situation Overview

The 15 February ceasefire in eastern Ukraine remains fragile. Humanitarian partners report that many people in Debaltseve have heavily suffered from the recent intensification of fighting: many are traumatized and have had little or no access to assistance or basic services for weeks. OSCE Special Monitoring Mission (SMM) reports that almost all the buildings in the city centre were destroyed or heavily damaged. De facto authorities report that the remaining 7,000 inhabitants, including 1,000 children, and 2,000 returnees, have extremely limited access to running water, basic services or heating. 500, mostly civilian, corpses had been found in houses and cellars in Debaltseve and authorities have requested body bags from international organizations operating in the area. The pre-conflict population of the city stood at more than 25,000 people.

De facto authorities are providing food, which is estimated to be sufficient to cater for needs for the next two the cessation in hostilities has allowed for the safe delivery of humanitarian assistance, despite shelling having destroyed or damaged several access bridges. MSF and People in Need (PiN) were able to deliver humanitarian assistance inside Debaltseve. The UN (UNICEF, UNHCR, WFP) provided food and non-food items to partners for distribution.

In some locations (such as Donetsk airport and the village of Shyrokyne near Mariupol) artillery and small arms exchanges were reported. Indiscriminate shelling of populated areas - both government-controlled and those under the control of the armed groups - continued as well, but its scale and impact have dramatically decreased.

According to information from Luhansk Oblast State Administration (LOSA) people started returning to the towns and villages that were under shelling during the last two weeks (Popasna, Krymske). Local authorities are trying to rehabilitate damaged infrastructure. In the majority of towns and villages there is a shortage of food. Delivery of basic products in these areas is irregular due to continued shelling.

Along the contact line, many people continue however to flee cities and towns. As of 23 February, the government reports 1,069,809 registered IDPs across the country. The Cabinet of Ministers of Ukraine extended the list of the security operation areas with 30 other locations which means that the residents of said areas can be granted an IDP certificate and be entitled to the respective governmental allowances.

On 16 February and 20 February, the Head of the self-proclaimed ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ signed the Order N 51 and 59, which instruct that the social payments should be commenced on 1 March 2015 for the following groups: pensioners by age, people with disabilities, to the veterans of the ‘Great Patriotic War’, and in case of the loss of a ‘bread-winner’ in the family. It was also reported that residents of Vuhlehirsk and Debaltseve had started receiving one-time financial aid and pensions. However, this information is yet to be verified. According to very conservative estimates1, the leadership of ‘Donetsk people’s republic’ will need at least UAH 710 million monthly to pay the declared pensions.

Overall, since the beginning of the conflict in mid-April 2014 and until 26 February 2015, at least 5,807 people (including 63 children) were killed and 14,735 (including 169 children) were wounded in the conflict area.2 The full account of the losses in the Debaltseve area and Donetsk airport are still pending. On top of injuries, the top most reported morbidity causes in the conflict affected area are cardio-vascular diseases, acute respiratory infections and diabetes.

On 24 February the Humanitarian Country Team (HCT) launched the revised Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP) appealing for USD 316 million. These funds will be used in 2015 to target 3.2 million of the most vulnerable people across Ukraine, with a wide range of life-saving activities. The launch took place simultaneously in Geneva and Kyiv, together with the Deputy Vice Prime Minister of Ukraine and included member states and various agencies. For planning purposes, four zones were created to map the severity of the humanitarian situation, and help humanitarian actors plan and prioritize accordingly. From 26-27 February, the Humanitarian Coordinator (HC) held a series of meetings in Brussels with members of the European Parliament and ECHO. He appealed for cash support for the newly launched HRP and for financial and technical support for humanitarian action, early recovery and reform. The HC also encouraged European leaders to push for peaceful solutions, despite the many challenges and difficulties. He also outlined the mechanisms of coordination that are currently in place and working, in addition to briefing on what the government of Ukraine is doing to facilitate humanitarian aid and some of the impediments that the humanitarian community is facing, including bureaucratic hurdles affecting access.

On 26 February, the VII Conference of Ukrainian Philanthropist Forum “Philanthropy and Volunteering in Action: Saving, Reconciling and Building the future” took place and humanitarian themes were echoed, specifically the need to change legislation and the significant challenges of delivering humanitarian aid to the vulnerable in non- government controlled area. The ongoing difficulties faced by the local non-governmental humanitarian groups are even greater than those facing the international humanitarian community, local organizations reported.

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
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