Humanitarian response collage

In 2018, 4.4 million women, men, children and elderly are continuing to suffer due to the entrenched political impasse and the ongoing armed conflict in eastern Ukraine. Despite many attempts at a ceasefire, hostilities continue with almost daily shelling, frequent localized clashes, and rapidly escalating mine and unexploded ordinance contamination. Given the restrictions on access, just under a million crossings of the ‘contact line’ occur each month through the five entry/exit checkpoints, with people forced to wait for many hours in long lines with minimal services. Away from the active hostilities, there are around 1.6 million internally displaced people, who find themselves in protracted displacement with little prospect for social-cohesion or return.

Four years on, the prolonged conflict and socioeconomic disparity between the GCA and NGCA have led to major reorganization of access to services such as education, health, legal assistance, markets and shops along and close to the ‘contact line’. Critical humanitarian needs persist and continue rising across all sectors, and humanitarian partners continue providing assistance and protection. See 2018 Humanitarian Need Overview for more information on the humanitarian needs.

The provision of humanitarian aid requires concerted action by numerous actors. Around the world, the United Nations is mandated to play a central role in inter-agency coordination of humanitarian assistance. In this context, following the outbreak of the crisis, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) established a presence in Ukraine in 2014. By September 2015, OCHA has staff in Kyiv and in field offices in Donetsk, Kramatorsk, Kyiv, Luhansk, Mariupol and Sievierodonetsk.

The Humanitarian Coordinator is the lead counterpart to the Government for coordination with the international humanitarian community. The Humanitarian Coordinator, supported by OCHA, chairs the Humanitarian Country Team, the strategic body that guides the response, and leads interaction with government and non-governmental counterparts. In addition to UN organizations, the Humanitarian Country Team also includes the Red Cross Movement and local and international NGOs.

The humanitarian response is coordinated within eight clusters currently operational in Ukraine. Shelter, Protection, Health and Nutrition, Education, Water, Sanitation and Hygiene, Early Recovery and Livelihoods, Food Security and Logistics cluster partners operate across the country, with particular focus on eastern Ukraine and especially on areas close to the ‘contact line’ and beyond government control. Cluster partners carry out joint assessments and response.

As part of the coordinated aid effort, UN agencies have been distributing various relief supplies, including food parcels and non-food items, shelter material, medicines, hygienic and education kits as well as providing access to safe drinking water to meet the needs of people affected by the conflict. Other urgent humanitarian programming includes provision of farming inputs for self-production of food, landmine awareness training for children, and advocacy and actions to protect civilians, IDPs, women, children, the elderly, and minorities.

In February 2015, the UN and the Government launched the 2015 Humanitarian Response Plan for Ukraine. On February 17, the Humanitarian Country Team, together with the Government of Ukraine, appealed to the donors to generously contribute to the Humanitarian Response Plan 2016 requirements of US$ 298 million.

On 4 December 2017, the United Nations (UN) Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator launched the 2018 Humanitarian Response Plan (HRP), which aims to provide critical humanitarian assistance and protection to 2.3 million people in need throughout 2018.