United Nations agencies are stepping up aid deliveries to non-Government-controlled areas of eastern Ukraine where more than 100,000 people, cut off from assistance for months, are now facing added hardship with the approach of the bitter east European winter.
The UN World Food Programme (WFP) today delivered food to areas of Luhansk for the first time since the suspension of humanitarian activities four months ago, with a 12-truck convoy carrying enough supplies to feed more than 7,000 people for one month. More convoys bringing food to Luhansk are planned, with the next one scheduled to arrive later this week.
“As another harsh winter begins, WFP is concerned about the growing needs of the most vulnerable conflict-affected people; especially those who had to flee their homes,” the agency said in a news release.
WFP is seeking to provide food to more than 100,000 people affected by the conflict in non-government controlled areas in both the Luhansk and Donetsk regions by the end of 2015.
Today’s deliveries came two weeks after the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) brought in supplies to Luhansk, including plastic sheeting, construction material and thousands of blankets.
“Still, humanitarian organizations face major challenges in gaining access to the most vulnerable among an estimated 5 million people affected by the conflict that started in the region in April 2014,” WFP said.
“The conflict has displaced hundreds of people in Luhansk; they fled their homes, left their jobs and have no means of support other than external assistance that they had been deprived of for four months,” WFP Head of Office in Ukraine Giancarlo Stopponi said today.
In Luhansk, the food will be distributed through WFP’s partner, the international non-government organization (NGO) Mercy Corps, while in Donetsk, the international NGO People In Need, will carry out distributions. WFP is targeting the most vulnerable, including elderly and disabled people as well as single-parent households.
In government-controlled areas of both Donetsk and Luhansk, including areas near the front-line and in buffer-zone villages, WFP has continued to provide assistance over the past four months. WFP delivered food for over 20,000 people last month in non-Government controlled areas in Donetsk, after humanitarian access to the area resumed.