Kyiv, 9 January 2022 (TDI): According to OCHR, this year, there will be 2.9 million people in need of humanitarian assistance. There must be a sustained ceasefire to prevent further deterioration of the people’s needs and vulnerability.

A ceasefire is imperative in eastern Ukraine. Those who live in fear no longer wish to do so. On behalf of those whose voices are rarely heard, OCHA calls upon all parties to respect the ceasefire.

The past year has been challenging for all of us, but even more so for those who have been caught up in conflicts, such as the eastern Ukrainians. For more than six years, the armed conflict in eastern Ukraine has affected more than 3.4 million people, including millions of people living in the Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts.

Even though the cessation of hostilities in July 2020 led to significant reductions in attacks on critical infrastructure and civilian casualties, there has been a gradual increase in hostilities in recent months, approaching pre-ceasefire levels.

During the first month after the ceasefire was declared in January 2021, the first casualties from active hostilities and the first attack on an educational facility have been seen, indicating a resumption of hostilities soon.

The July 2020 ceasefire is becoming increasingly unstable. Civilians living in conflict zones continue to suffer the consequences of military clashes as they occur more frequently.

There have been at least 90 civilian deaths or injuries between January and November of this year. Last month, 547 security incidents, a 22% increase over November 2020 was recorded.

Additionally, humanitarian efforts continue to monitor and address the needs of vulnerable populations on both sides of the “contact line.” The number of COVID-19 infections exceeded 3 million by the end of November 2021, causing more than 85,000 deaths in Ukraine.

Despite the challenging circumstances, the government of Ukraine faces, the government’s efforts to resolve needs and enhance the rights of the affected population deserve recognition.

These efforts include the development of a new IDP integration strategy and action plan, as well as increased access to more comprehensive housing schemes for IDPs.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many in need of assistance are having difficulty sustaining their livelihood. Due to the closure of the 427-kilometer frontline dividing the region, 1.7 million people living in non-government-controlled areas (NGCAs) are experiencing growing humanitarian needs.

Before the outbreak of the pandemic in Ukraine in March 2020, 1.2 million people regularly crossed the NGCA line every month. In the long-term closed communities, humanitarian assistance, and protection services are more important.

Humanitarian assistance remains an essential lifeline for those affected by the recurrence of hostilities and COVID-19 in Ukraine. More than 1.5 million conflict-weary individuals were reached in the first nine months of 2021. This has resulted in more people receiving life-saving aid and services this year than ever before.

Humanitarian organizations have been able to help a greater number of individuals in need, in part as a result of enhanced access to areas beyond the control of governments.

Humanitarian assistance will be provided to those who continue to suffer. 190 million USD will be needed next year to assist as many people as possible and the reliance is on the generous support of international donors to continue life-saving work.

In Ukraine, OCHA’s overall goal is to deliver humanitarian assistance that is effective and principled. OCHA supports the Humanitarian Coordinator and humanitarian partners on operational coordination, humanitarian financing, public information, humanitarian analysis, advocacy, and the management of information.

Immediately after the outbreak of the crisis in 2014, OCHA set up a presence in Kyiv to assist in alleviating the suffering of the affected population and responding to some of the long-term consequences.

In Kyiv and its four operational hubs in Kramatorsk, Sievierodonetsk (GCA), Donetsk, and Luhansk (NGCA), OCHA has more than 40 staff working to coordinate humanitarian assistance.

Ongoing Response

In eastern Ukraine, the United Nations and humanitarian partners have provided over $1.2 billion in support, including over $600 million mobilized through Humanitarian Response Plans (HRPs). In 2020, over 1 million people will receive humanitarian assistance on both sides of the “contact line” in eastern Ukraine.

Cluster-based approaches are used to coordinate humanitarian responses. Education, food security and livelihoods, health, protection, shelter and non-food items, and water, sanitation, and hygiene (WASH) have been identified in Ukraine. Organizing humanitarian assistance, conducting joint assessments, and monitoring programs entail being cluster partners.

In this effort, human-rights organizations provide emergency and time-critical assistance as well as essential services such as food, shelter materials, medicine, hygiene and education kits, drinking water, and others.

A vital component of emergency humanitarian assistance is livelihood support, along with mine clearance, mine-risk education, and advocacy.