Image: UNICEF/Julia Kochetova
New York: Critical relief supplies for nearly 64,000 people have been delivered to Kramatorsk and Sloviansk, two cities in the Government-controlled areas of the eastern Donetska oblast, or region, in Ukraine, the UN humanitarian agency OCHA reported on Tuesday.
The 12 trucks carrying food, water purification tablets, hygiene and other desperately needed household items, arrived in the region on Monday.
Months of escalating and intense fighting in Ukraine is taking an enormous toll on civilians and over 2.2 million people in Donetska alone need life-saving assistance, OCHA said, noting that the situation in Sloviansk, formerly home to 100,000 people, is particularly concerning.
Hostilities have damaged the water system, leaving the 25,000 people who remain there - mainly the elderly and the most vulnerable - without piped water. Electricity is limited and basic supplies are lacking in the few shops still open for business, with increasing prices further impacting people’s access to food and other vital items.
“The city is only 10 km away from the front line and has experienced intense shelling over the past weeks. Almost nobody goes to the street. They spend their days hiding from the constant bombardment, without access to basic services,” said Osnat Lubrani, UN Humanitarian Coordinator for Ukraine.
In Sloviansk, humanitarians delivered water purification tablets and vital hygiene supplies to cover the needs of 20,000 people, critical household items to around 2,000 people and enough food to feed some 5,000 people for a month.
Meanwhile, in Kramatorsk, roughly 37,850 people—out of nearly 78,000 who remain in the city—will receive critical assistance, including water purification kits and hygiene supplies for more than 20,000 people, as well as food assistance for at least 10,000.
Safe access needed
The humanitarian convoy was coordinated by OCHA, which notified both parties to the conflict to guarantee the safety of the operation.
More than 300 humanitarian organizations operating across Ukraine, two-thirds of them national NGOs, have provided over 8.8 million people with life-saving assistance.
However, the war has left nearly 16 million people in the country in need of humanitarian aid.
“We have consistently and insistently engaged the parties to the conflict to make sure we can support people in Ukraine, wherever they are. Yet, we have been prevented from reaching areas where we know people need support now, including Mariupol, Kherson, and most recently Sievierodonetsk,” said Ms. Lubrani.
“We call on the parties to the conflict to facilitate safe and unimpeded humanitarian access to all regions of Ukraine, so we can expand relief operations even further and support people who have now suffered with these four months of war.”
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