As the armed conflict enters its seventh year, children, young people and the elderly remain the most vulnerable groups in eastern Ukraine, in both government (GCA) and non-government (NGCA) controlled areas. The protracted conflict continues to take a heavy toll on civilians: During April of 2020, ten civilian casualties were reported (three killed and four injured as a result of shelling and Small arms and light weapons [SALW] fire, and three injured in mine incidents). Daily ceasefire violations, shelling and explosions have damaged scores of homes and social infrastructure.
Armed attacks on critical infrastructure, such as water and education, along the Line of Contact (LoC) continued to severely limit access to basic services and impact the lives of hundreds of thousands of residents. During the reporting period, 17 incidents affecting water/sanitation/hygiene (WASH) facilities were recorded, while the Education Cluster reported at least seven cases of physical damage of education facilities, including one fatal case as a result of shelling.
The outbreak and spread of COVID-19 in Ukraine brought additional challenges to the region which has a large elderly population and weak healthcare services. Quarantine measures introduced by the authorities on both sides of the LoC have severely restricted humanitarian access for the UN and partners to deliver critically needed aid. This situation has also significantly restricted freedom of movement by civilians across the LoC. As schools and workplaces largely remain closed, increased cases of violence against women and children are being reported by UNICEF partners.
Funding Overview and Partnerships
UNICEF has appealed for USD 9.8 million to sustain the provision of life-saving services for children and women in conflict-affected eastern Ukraine. Since the beginning of 2020, the governments of the USA, Italy, Estonia and Germany, as well as ECHO have generously contributed to UNICEF Ukraine’s Humanitarian Action for Children (HAC) appeal. UNICEF also expresses its gratitude to all public and private donors for the contributions received to date. Still, at the end of Quarter 2, UNICEF 2020 HAC is underfunded by 56% with major gaps in the WASH, Education and HIV/AIDS sectors.