About 1.2 million of Donbass people suffer from food shortages. This was stated by Šimon Pánek, president of People in Need at the international conference “Ukraine: A Forgotten Humanitarian Crisis in Europe?”, which was held in Berlin on November 22, the press service of the Delegation of the European Union to Ukraine reports.
The conference was organised by the ACCESS Consortium. The event, supported by the EU, brought together local and international non-governmental organisations, civil society representatives, United Nations agencies, the European Union, donors, as well as governmental and political representatives for a constructive dialogue leading to a shared understanding of the humanitarian needs and best ways forward.
An average 40 conflict-related incidents are recorded every day in the 10 km-wide area along the line of contact alone. Recent developments have led to a further separation of the civilian population living on both sides of the line of contact. Almost four years since hostilities began in eastern Ukraine, human suffering is intensifying.
"The ACCESS consortium is concerned about the deteriorating humanitarian situation, and calls on the parties to the conflict, the international community and humanitarian organizations to take additional measures to ensure the meeting of extremely important humanitarian needs", - the report said.
With negotiations not resulting in a political breakthrough thus far, and funding for humanitarian aid at critically low levels - the situation is still at crisis level for the four million people in need of assistance. It is crucial that humanitarian needs are given appropriate consideration, and that all stakeholders share a common understanding of the situation on the ground in order to find realistic solutions.
“Fighting, the trade blockade, the disruption of access to basic services, all have contributed to increasing vulnerabilities. This is happening right at the doors of the European Union, in the conflict-affected area of eastern Ukraine, were today, for instance, 1.2 million people are food insecure - 176,000 of whom severely”, - said Šimon Pánek.
“The EU has been at the forefront of the humanitarian and early recovery response in eastern Ukraine from the beginning of the crisis”, - said EU Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides. “We will continue to support those in need in Ukraine. We want to assist the most vulnerable groups and to support reform and development where it is possible”.
It is noted that the deterioration of the humanitarian situation was caused not by changes in the environment, but by diplomatic impasse, decrease in the financing of humanitarian needs, slow investment in reconstruction, and insufficient attention from both the authorities and international representatives to the needs and difficulties faced by the population of Donbass.
In May 2017, four major international organizations - People in Need, Action Contre La Faim, Doctors of the World // Médecins du Monde and ACTED - in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives created a new project consortium - ACCESS. It was created in order to provide diversified humanitarian assistance for the population of the eastern regions of Ukraine affected by the conflict. The project is funded by the European Commission.