The European Commission has announced €8m in humanitarian aid to help vulnerable communities in Ukraine withstand the winter months.
The funding, which brings the EU’s total humanitarian support for Ukraine throughout 2019 to €23m, will go towards providing support to civilians living in the Eastern regions of Ukraine who have been affected by ongoing conflict in the area. Since Russia annexed the Crimea in 2014, East Ukraine has been subject to volatility, conflict and episodes of violence: Ukraine currently ranks fifth in the world for civilian casualties caused by landmines and unexploded ordnances. In non-government controlled areas, humanitarian bodies are periodically restricted from accessing the communities they aim to help. As winter sets in, the humanitarian crisis is expected to worsen; 3.5 million of the 5.2 million Ukrainians who have been directly affected by the annexation are still in immediate need of humanitarian assistance.
Commissioner for Crisis Management Janez Lenarčič said: “More than five years of ongoing conflict have exhausted people’s ability to take care of their basic needs. The EU is continuing to help the most vulnerable people on both sides of the contact line. This funding will help them withstand the harsh winter conditions.”
The funding, to be delivered through United Nations agencies, nongovernmental organisations and the International Committee of the Red Cross, will go towards measures supporting civilians in both government controlled and non-government controlled areas of Eastern Ukraine, including:
- Providing heating to help residents survive the harsh winter;
- Improving residents’ access to water and sanitation: water and electricity services have both been badly damaged by indiscriminate shelling;
- Repairing hospitals and schools which have been damaged in the course of the conflict;
- Enabling residents to access crucial healthcare provision; and
- Supplying medicines and medical equipment.
The EU has extended its economic sanctions on Russia in response to the country’s continued aggression towards Ukraine.