Note to correspondents on the humanitarian response in Ukraine, attributable to Saviano Abreu, Spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA)
26 May 2023
• The UN and our humanitarian partners continue to work non-stop to support people impacted by the escalating fighting and hostilities, which are ravaging communities in the east and south of the country.
• Approximately 5.4 million people have received humanitarian assistance and protection services by aid organizations across Ukraine in the first four months of 2023 – more than 60 per cent of whom are women and girls. This is around 800,000 people more than the total we had assisted by the end of March.
• More than 2.1 million people received multipurpose cash assistance, close to 3.5 million received food, nearly 3 million had access to health services and medicines, around 1 million could access clean water and hygiene products and also approximately 1 million received emergency shelter or critical household items after their homes were damaged or destroyed. Education services were provided to nearly 700,000 people - mostly children - and protection services to around 600,000, including people who received services to prevent gender-based violence or support survivors.
• This was possible thanks to the efforts of hundreds of humanitarian organizations, and our close work with local groups and community-based volunteers who play a vital role on getting the assistance to those who need it the most.
• We do need to ensure that the world knows that the humanitarian response in Ukraine is as crucial as ever: the war has further escalated since the beginning of the year, taking a heavy toll on civilians who live close to the front line, those who cannot go back to their homes and also people all across the country living under almost daily air sirens and threats of attacks.
• Although strikes on energy infrastructure decreased – we all remember how damaging it was during the winter months – with each passing day more and more people in Ukraine are having their homes, schools, water system and hospitals damaged.
• Mine contamination is also creating huge challenges, not only to civilians trying, for example, to get back to their farms, but also for humanitarians trying to deliver assistance. This is particularly concerning in the Kharkiv, Mykolaiv and Kherson regions, where people depend on agriculture and dozens of mine-related accidents are being reported every month.
• Access challenges also continued and assistance to areas under Russian control remains extremely limited. This year alone, because of the deterioration of the security situation and shifts in the front line, humanitarian partners have lost access to almost 60,000 people in almost 40 towns and villages in the east. We don’t stop efforts and exploring all options to ensure people there receive the assistance they need.
• On the funding side, humanitarians have received only 24 per cent of the $3.9 billion requested for the response this year. We call on the international community to sustain its support to the humanitarian response in Ukraine. This war is far from over and the international support will be critical to ensure we can help people whose lives are been upended by this war.