UN relief wing says 1.2 million Ukrainians uprooted by conflict, calls for more funding

Displaced families from Debaltseve and surrounding areas moved to Sloviansk, Ukraine, to escape the violence and now live in a railway car at Sloviansk railway station. Photo: WFP/Abeer Etefa

15 April 2015 – The United Nations humanitarian office has reported that 1.2 million people in Ukraine have now been internally displaced because of conflict in the country.

The figures, produced by Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy and included in the latest UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) Situation Report on Ukraine, released yesterday, also shows that three quarters of internally displaced persons are registered in the five eastern regions, or oblasts, of Ukraine.

In addition, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) says that almost 778,000 more people have fled from Ukraine to neighbouring countries, mainly to Russia.

UN agencies and humanitarian partners warn that access to food has greatly decreased since last October, especially for people living in non-government controlled areas. Rapidly increasing food prices and decreased food consumption and diet quality have significantly impacted the lives of displaced families in the country’s eastern provinces.

Aid agencies are also concerned about restricted access to social services such as pension and salaries in conflict-affected areas. A UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) mission to Donetsk province found that some school teachers had not been paid for three months.

Humanitarian assistance continues to be provided to people affected by the conflict, including primary healthcare, household items and cash grants but OCHA warns that funding for the humanitarian operation remains low, with the appeal for $316 million only 18 per cent funded.

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