United Nations and humanitarian partners deliver supplies to the encircled city of Sumy
31 March 2022
Statement by the Humanitarian Coordinator in Ukraine, Osnat Lubrani
Today the United Nations and humanitarian partners have delivered supplies for thousands of people in the encircled city of Sumy, including children and hospital patients, where shelling and fighting have destroyed homes, hospitals and schools, cut off power and water, and prevented commercial deliveries of food and other goods.
We were able to safely bring medicine, food, sanitation kits and basic living items provided by People in Need (PiN), the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR), the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the World Food Programme (WFP). Thanks to our national partner the Ukrainian Red Cross, these relief supplies will be delivered to Sumy as well as hard-to-reach areas in the north-east like Trostianets and Okhtyrka. The food rations from PiN and WFP will benefit nearly 6,000 people; blankets, kettles and other basic household items from UNHCR will support 1,500 people, while the sanitation kits help 6,000 people with hygiene and drinking water. The WHO medical supplies and trauma kits will treat 150 patients requiring intensive care for serious injuries while the other medical supplies will support 10,000 people for three months.
The humanitarian notification system with Ukraine and the Russian Federation, facilitated by the Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), enabled safe passage for this convoy today. But this is clearly not enough. We need to reach the most vulnerable people affected by the grave humanitarian crisis all across Ukraine. Over the past month, the United Nations and humanitarian partners have repeatedly engaged with the parties seeking access to Mariupol, Kherson and other encircled cities. For this to be successful, we need all parties to agree to the exact terms of humanitarian pauses - including the route, the start time, and the duration - for the safe delivery of assistance and the evacuation of civilians.
These efforts have regrettably not yet succeeded, as we have been informed repeatedly that the safety and security of aid convoys and civilians could not be guaranteed. We note the latest reported commitment from the parties. If this results in a brief period during which civilians can move safely, we will do all we can to support those people.
Until then, we will continue our engagement with both parties to the conflict with the aim of urgently, immediately and consistently negotiating and facilitating the delivery of critical humanitarian assistance to the people who have been hardest-hit by the conflict, including in Mariupol and other encircled cities. We take seriously our commitment to assist the civilians caught in the middle of this appalling humanitarian crisis: I call on all the fighting parties to also uphold their obligations, in the name of humanity.