The UN has warned 700,000 children are at risk due to severely damaged heating systems in the Ukraine. Families in the conflict-affected areas in the Ukraine are desperate to keep their children warm during these freezing months where the temperature can drop to minus 20’C to 30’C.
The UNICEF Office in Ukraine states that five million people are completely dependent on two severely damaged centralized water systems. He stressed the urgency of repairs before the winter causes them to freeze and burst as this will have a knock on effect on interlinked heating, water and electricity systems. Read more from the UN here.
The UN Refugee Agency is starting to try and address these issues. In areas of Eastern Ukraine, the UN has managed to deliver aid for the first time in over two months to 12,000 people. However this is a “small drop in ocean of needs” especially as the winter approaches and when two million people were displaced by the fighting with another two million in need of vital aid.
As winter sets in, conditions are expected to be harsher for people in villages and towns close to the frontline where the conflict has damaged infrastructure and housing. With restrictions to movement, many people face insecurity and challenges in reaching medical and educational facilities. In some remote locations, access to basic services and goods remain limited, especially for the elderly and ill.
As temperatures fall across the region, shelter assistance has to be delivered fast to those living in buildings that lack windows, doors, roofs and heating. In addition, thousands of displaced people require warm blankets, winter clothing and shoes, as well as coal and heating fuels. The UN World Food Programme (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.
"An estimated 2.9 million people living in the conflict area continued to face difficulties in exercising their economic and social rights, in particular access to quality medical care, accommodation, social services and benefits, as well as compensatory mechanisms for damaged, seized or looted property,” the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission in Ukraine said in its latest report. “Civilians in the conflict-afflicted eastern parts of Ukraine end the year as they began it, in a very difficult humanitarian and human rights situation,” UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein said, summing up the report. Read more from the UN here.