The European Commission is increasing its humanitarian assistance and recovery aid to meet the immediate needs of vulnerable and conflict-affected populations in Ukraine.
High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the Commission Federica Mogherini said: "The European Union is ready to increase its support for the population affected by the conflict as part of its overall support for Ukraine. And we must not forget host communities, who are demonstrating a huge amount of solidarity towards Internally Displaced Persons. Confidence-building measures between these two groups are important to strengthen Ukrainian society as a whole."
The EU is providing an additional € 3.3 million to help the most vulnerable population affected by the ongoing conflict in Eastern Ukraine to meet their basic needs and prepare for the approaching winter. This increases the Commission's humanitarian funding to €11.05 million since the beginning of the crisis. This assistance will address the most acute needs through the provision of shelter, food and non-food assistance, health services and protection.
A further € 4.5 million is being provided to meet the recovery and integration needs of internally displaced persons (IDPs) and host communities as well as to promote confidence-building. Particular focus is given to supporting small-scale community development projects (schools, medical facilities) to alleviate tensions as well as on promoting reconciliation through inclusive community dialogue. Income-generating activities to support livelihoods are also prioritised alongside technical assistance to facilitate the roll-out of the national IDP registration system.
"Thousands of vulnerable civilians are being pushed into humanitarian crisis by the fighting, especially with winter approaching. Our new funding will assist them in the months ahead", said EU Commissioner Christos Stylianides, responsible for, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management. "It is also imperative that all sides to the conflict adhere to International Humanitarian Law and ensure unhindered humanitarian access to the people in need".
The humanitarian situation in the Donetsk and Luhansk regions remains critical. The crisis has resulted in serious damage to infrastructure, electricity and water supply systems. The affected population is in urgent need of shelter, food, water and sanitation items while direct assistance is required to stabilise both IDP and host communities, secure access to livelihoods and to promote reconciliation .Despite the 5 September ceasefire, continued fighting in some parts of Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts has led to a large-scale population displacement inside the country and beyond its borders. More than 440 000 people are registered as internally displaced, and some 488 000 fled to neighbouring countries. Serious violations of the cease-fire declared in September are reported daily and shelling has even intensified in parts of Donetsk and Luhansk regions, which further aggravates the crisis.
On 20 October 2014, the Ukrainian Parliament adopted a law providing legal guarantees for temporarily displaced persons allowing for proper registration of IDPs. However, a number of tax-related issues still need to be resolved in order to assure the effective and efficient delivery of humanitarian assistance.
Collectively, the EU's Member States and the European Commission have already provided over €73 million in humanitarian and recovery support. On the ground, this assistance is translating into shelter for the displaced, health care for the injured and the sick, food, water, sanitation and other emergency aid. In addition, the Commission has deployed humanitarian experts to the region since February 2014 to monitor the situation and ensure a timely and coordinated EU assistance.
An EU civil protection mission is currently deployed in Ukraine, assessing the situation on the ground and helping the Ukrainian authorities to boost their capacity as first responders and prepare for the winter.
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