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. The plan targets 3.2 million of the most vulnerable people of the five million estimated to be in need of humanitarian assistance across the country. The plan calls on the international community for US$ 316 million to carry out a wide range of life-saving interventions including food, farming inputs and household item distribution, healthcare, psychosocial care, shelter, warm clothing, and basic education. Fundraising is continuing as the plan is being implemented.
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. The plan illustrates the strategic humanitarian response priorities that the UN and its humanitarian partners are planning to carry out in 2016 in Ukraine, targeting 2.5 million most vulnerable amongst the 3.1 million conflict-affected people who continue to need critical life-saving assistance.