In Ukraine, UN relief chief pledges support for political, aid, rebuilding efforts

Local volunteers prepare humanitarian aid in the cellar of the Sloviansk public library, Ukraine, which serves as a warehouse and collection point for UNHCR's aid delivery. Photo: UNHCR/Iva Zimova

23 August 2014 – The top United Nations relief official told reporters in Ukraine today, that while the situation in Sloviansk has improved, the UN is still concerned about the ongoing impact of the crisis and plans to support the Government's efforts towards political talks, scaling up the humanitarian response, and ensuring long-term rehabilitation of infrastructure.

“The longer the conflict goes on, the more impact it has on ordinary people and the greater the number of people who are displaced,” said Valerie Amos, UN Under Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, talking to reporters mid-way through her four-day visit to Ukraine to assess the aid effort.

Telling reporters in Sloviansk that the UN has been extremely concerned at the way the situation in Ukraine has deteriorated over the last few months, she said the Organization is seeking to give support to the Government in three specific areas.

“First, with the ongoing political discussions, which we hope will conclude and bring peace, security and stability to Ukraine,” said Ms. Amos.

While The United Nations was supporting the Government's own efforts, the Organization recognized that there are parts of Ukraine's eastern region where the conflict made it difficult to get to the people who need assistance.

“So, the second area in which we are seeking to give support with respect to humanitarian response efforts is scaling up operational capacity, additional supplies, and looking at ways in which we can get into those more difficult parts of Ukraine,” she said.

Thirdly, Ms Amos said there will be longer-term rehabilitation efforts which are required, given the destruction of essential infrastructure. So the UN is supporting the assessment of the damage.

“Imagine the money required to repair that infrastructure,” she continued, adding that the UN is working to ensure that there is a wide range of partners, donor countries, the World Bank and others, who could support with resources longer-term reconstruction efforts.

Meanwhile, Ms. Amos said that she was happy to see how different the situation in Sloviansk is today compared with the beginning of July. “We've been able to see…how, over a very short period of time, basic services have been restored. Substantial numbers of people are already returning to the city.”

“It demonstrates what peace means and we hope that it will be repeated in the parts of the country where there is continued, ongoing fighting,” she concluded, thanking the local authorities in Sloviansk and to the representatives of the national Government she had met yesterday and Thursday, for their ongoing close cooperation with the United Nations.


News Tracker: past stories on this issue

Ban urges Russia, Ukraine to exercise restraint after aid convoy crosses border

Related Stories





In-depth Interviews