Today the European Commission is increasing its humanitarian response to help people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine, with a new humanitarian aid package worth €20 million. The announcement comes as European Commissioner for Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Management Christos Stylianides arrives in the country for a visit from 16-18 March 2016.
"The EU remains as committed as ever to supporting the Ukrainian people. Ukraine needs to stay high on our agenda. Today we are announcing new support to help people affected by the conflict in eastern Ukraine. The support will boost our on-going aid operations, reaching the most vulnerable people both in government and non-government-held areas. Despite the decrease in breaches to the ceasefire, the impact of the violence on the civilian population remains a humanitarian concern. It is essential that humanitarian aid gets to all vulnerable people affected by the conflict swiftly, safely and impartially", European Commissioner Christos Stylianides said.
An estimated 3.1 million people are still in need of assistance in Ukraine and neighbouring countries. About 55% of the Commission's humanitarian assistance targets people in need in non-government controlled areas.
The new funding brings the Commission's total humanitarian assistance to vulnerable people hit by the conflict in Ukraine to over €63 million, in addition to important bilateral assistance from a number of EU Member States. Together with the funding provided directly by the Member States, the EU as a whole has directed over €146 million of aid to those affected by the conflict since early 2014.
The European Commission provides humanitarian assistance to the most vulnerable communities, irrespective of which area of the conflict they live in or have fled to. The Commission is also assisting Ukrainian refugees in Belarus and Russia through the national Red Cross Societies in the respective countries. All EU humanitarian assistance is based solely on the needs of the affected populations.
The EU has kept the humanitarian aspect of conflict in Ukraine high on its agenda from the early days of the conflict. It also stands ready to further increase its support depending on the humanitarian situation. Despite the decrease in breaches to the ceasefire, the humanitarian situation is challenging as the situation in Eastern Ukraine remains unstable and volatile.
Humanitarian needs: Returnees, refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) face shortages of essentials such as food, medicine and health care, basic household items, clean water and shelter. Basic services are not available in all areas as a result of damage to the infrastructure, electricity grid and water supply systems.
Who benefits: The EU's humanitarian aid goes to internally displaced people and to refugees who have fled the conflict areas, as well as to returnees. EU humanitarian aid is often distributed in the form of cash and vouchers, allowing maximum efficiency and preserving the dignity of the affected people. The recipients can buy essential items at the local shops and markets, thus supporting the local economy. About 55% of the Commission's humanitarian assistance targets people in need in non-government controlled areas.
Partners: Assistance is being delivered through the Commission's humanitarian partner organisations, including People In Need, ICRC, UNHCR, WHO, UNICEF, WFP, IOM, Save the Children, Danish Refugee Council, Caritas, Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC), Action Against Hunger (ACF), Première Urgence-Aide Médicale Internationale (PU-AMI), Handicap International (HI), Médecins du Monde (MdM), and GOAL Global.
For more information: Factsheet on EU humanitarian assistance to Ukraine http://ec.europa.eu/echo/files/aid/countries/factsheets/ukraine_en.pdf