According to the Humanitarian Country Team led by the United Nations, in 2018, humanitarian needs will continue to be significant, and will likely rise in severity and complexity. The ongoing hostilities, compounded by insufficient funding for response, have had a profound impact on the socio-economic situation in the affected regions, e.g. food insecurity doubling over the past year. Having fallen into poverty, many conflict-affected people, especially those within the 5km range on both sides of the contact line who also live under active daily shelling, continue to depend on humanitarian aid while suffering from the disruption of access to life-essential and social services.
The donor and diplomatic community calls for full access for humanitarian organizations to provide emergency assistance in the non-government controlled areas, considering that the needs are greatest in these locations. We acknowledge that cumbersome verification procedures for registration of internally displaced persons (IDP) and the ban on transportation of commercial cargo across the contact line further exacerbate humanitarian needs on both sides of the contact line.
The donor and diplomatic community is deeply concerned by systematic and continuous ceasefire violations. We express our grave concern related to the recent escalation of hostilities near water, electricity, and gas supply infrastructure in Donetsk province. With the onset of winter, any major disruption in essential services, such as water, electricity and heating amid freezing temperatures could have grave consequences for millions of Ukrainians. We urge all parties to abide by International Humanitarian Law and ensure humanitarian access to all people in need, particularly access to those people in non-government controlled areas (NGCA) where the needs are the greatest.
We urge the Government of Ukraine to do everything possible to protect people’s freedom of movement by improving conditions at crossing points between government-controlled areas (GCA) and NGCA, and access to essential services, including pensions and social benefits.
We draw attention to the launch of the Humanitarian Response Plan 2018, which highlights that 3.4 million people continue to be in critical need of assistance. Although the elderly represent a large percentage of the most affected, we are concerned with the multidimensional impact of the conflict on some specific groups – people with disabilities, HIV-positive people, Roma communities and other marginalized groups. We note a disproportionate impact of the conflict on civilian women with increasing responsibilities caring and providing for their households, increasing reported rates of survival sex and gender-based violence, and potential long-term adverse impact on children. We note the Humanitarian Country Team’s rigour in identifying the most critical priorities, particularly considering the global humanitarian context and needs. Humanitarian agencies must focus their activities addressing the most deprived communities, those along the line of contact and in the NGCA.
We recognize that it is essential to continue to support these critical needs. We acknowledge that many reforms, particularly decentralization, are specifically designed to distribute funds to the regions, including to the conflict-affected East. We recognize the responsibility and the ability of the Government of Ukraine to alleviate suffering by continuing to deliver critical services to its citizens, starting from simplifying registration and verification procedures, and further work on identifying durable solutions for IDPs, including housing. An example of a practical approach to the Government’s response would be that it reflects Donbas’ needs within national reforms, including health and social protection: this would, ultimately, facilitate the integration of all of Donbas.
We will continue to work together with the Government of Ukraine to strengthen ongoing relief efforts, as well as bridge gaps between humanitarian assistance and government services with development funding. This will help the Government of Ukraine to bring reforms and essential services to communities most affected by the conflict and strengthen its increased role in addressing these needs.
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