14 July 2016
Away from the world’s media, a serious conflict is continuing in Ukraine. The fighting has become more violent in recent weeks.
Since conflict started in March 2014, it has left 3.1 million people in need of support.
Among them, 2.2 million have had to flee their homes because of the fighting.
In order to leave conflict areas, people must pass through military checkpoints that run in a line down the country dividing eastern and western Ukraine. Long waits at the checkpoints can expose people to shelling and other dangers.
Ben Webster, head of emergencies at the British Red Cross, said: “Approximately 600,000 people crossed through military checkpoints in June, an increase of 25 per cent.
“Hunger has increased as well. Around 280,000 people don’t have enough food, a number equal to the population of Leicester. Tragically, 21,500 people have died.”
Cash vouchers give vital support
The British Red Cross now works through our partners the International Committee of the Red Cross and the Ukraine Red Cross to support the most vulnerable people in the crisis.
Ben Webster said: “We are supporting our partners to provide ongoing cash grants to around 13,500 people who would otherwise have no income. Many are pensioners or those who had to flee their homes.
“Before the conflict, many of these people were supported by government social payments. This funding has now been suspended, causing serious hardship.
“We will also supply vouchers to exchange for essential relief supplies such as clothes, medicine and household items to 4,500 families who fled their homes.”
Such financial support is doubly important because the conflict has caused household expenses to increase. For instance, the price of food has risen by as much as 50 per cent in recent months.
At the same time, some farmland has become inaccessible because of fighting, meaning that agricultural production has fallen.
People who have fled to different parts of the country also have difficulty finding work with the economy under pressure from both the conflict and the movement of people.
Humanitarian aid in hard-to-reach areas
The Red Cross is one of the few organisations that can reach the east of the country where two-thirds of the 3.7 million affected people live. In the non-government areas in eastern Ukraine, we have provided:
- essential relief and food supplies to 42,000 people
- shelter materials to 1,600 people
- safe water to 10,500 people.
Over 25 hospitals have also received medical supplies.