fhumanitarian crisis in Ukraine
Massive devastation leaves 25% of Ukrainians in need of humanitarian assistance, protection
Nearly two months of intense and escalating hostilities in Ukraine continue to have horrific repercussions for civilians and caused a grave humanitarian crisis. "At least 15.7 million people in Ukraine are now in urgent need of humanitarian assistance and protection. Over 5 million people fled Ukraine to seek safety in other countries and another 7.1 million have been internally displaced across the country," Assistant Secretary-General Amin Awad, UN crisis coordinator for Ukraine, said Thursday. "This represents more than 25 percent of the entire population of Ukraine." Since the war started, civilian infrastructure has taken a huge hit with more than 136 health facilities and an average of 22 schools a day coming under attack. Moreover, damaged water systems have left 6 million people without regular access. Read: Ukraine: Missile attack kills 5 in Odesa Amin said the treatment of war prisoners is "deeply disturbing" and the fate of civilians in Mariupol remains unknown. Meanwhile, people living in occupied Kherson are short on food and medicines; Mykolaiv has been without water for seven days; and the devastation of urban centres and civilian infrastructure across the regions – especially in Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Kyiv and Chernihiv – have disrupted critical services for millions, including water and health care. Also, humanitarians are facing tremendous challenges that are often preventing them from delivering assistance to areas where people are in desperate need. Over 12 million people who have been displaced are now returning home, Amin said. To aid organisations, the UN humanitarian office, OCHA, released an additional $50 million on top of the $158 million already provided for life-saving operations, Osnat Lubrani, humanitarian coordinator for Ukraine, said. Amid mounting allegations of rape, she said part of the money would be directed to prevent any form of gender-based violence and to support survivors. "Thanks to the timely support of our donors, these funds will allow us to reach millions of people – mainly in the most affected areas in the east of the country – with the support they need to survive and face probably one of the biggest challenges of their lives," Osnat said. Read: Many flights canceled at Amsterdam's airport due to strike "Aid workers from local and international NGOs and UN agencies have worked day and night to scale up our response to assist more than 3.3 million people. This is alongside the incredible work done by volunteers across the country," she added. Despite these critical efforts and invaluable assistance, much more is required to meet the growing needs of Ukrainians. "It is remarkable how the humanitarian community here managed, in a few weeks, to expand from delivering assistance in two areas of eastern Ukraine to now operating across all 24 oblasts," Osnat said. "However, we are still not able or have been prevented from reaching areas where people are in dire need of assistance, including Mariupol and Kherson."