Europe sends further humanitarian help to East Ukraine

13 Aug 14
The European Commission is to give an extra €2.5m in humanitarian aid to help the most vulnerable people affected by the on-going fighting in Eastern Ukraine.

Thousands of civilians have been forced to flee the worsening conflict, where the heaviest impact of fighting has been seen in the rebel-held city of Lugansk. Fighting has resulted in damages to the infrastructure, electricity and water supply system.

The commission said many people have escaped by fleeing to Russia or surrounding areas controlled by Ukrainian government forces.

Kristalina Georgieva, commissioner responsible for international cooperation, humanitarian aid and civil protection, called on all sides of the conflict to ease the work of humanitarian organisations and allow for the provision of assistance to the civilian population in need.

She said: ‘We are moving to help some of the most vulnerable victims of this conflict. These civilians, many of them women and children, have been forced to flee their homes at a short notice, leaving behind even the most necessary belongings.

‘They need our help to live through the months ahead – especially with winter looming. Some of them are also caught in crossfires without possibility to escape.’

The commission’s latest funding comes on the top of €250,000 it provided in Ukraine through the International Federation of the Red Cross/Red Crescent.

ICRC head of operations for Europe and Central Asia Laurent Corbaz added: ‘It is urgent that aid reaches people in Lugansk and in other areas in the eastern part of the county, which have sustained heavy fighting over the past weeks.

‘The situation is critical – thousands of people are reported to be without access to water, electricity and medical aid.’

Yesterday, a Russian convoy carrying humanitarian aid, including food and medicine set off from Moscow and is due to arrive in war-torn Ukraine today.

But reports suggest that Ukrainian officials have imposed conditions on the distribution Russian aid in the East. The convoy of 280 Russian trucks would only be allowed to cross the border if the aid is supervised by the ICRC. 

This week, the ICRC met with the Ukrainian and the Russian authorities and shared a document which specifies the manner in which such an operation could take place.

It includes the agreement by all sides that the ICRC will be allowed to deliver the aid with ‘due respect for its fundamental working principles of neutrality, impartiality and independence’.

On Twitter, ICRC added: ‘We’ve been told by Russian authorities that an aid convoy is heading to #Ukraine border. We’re not in charge of this convoy at the moment.

‘Important details still need to be clarified, like content & volume of aid. We’re in touch with #Ukraine and Russian authorities about this.’

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