Ukraine invasion: Needs keep growing with cities facing ‘fatal shortages’ |

Dr. Jarno Habicht, Representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Ukraine.

Now in its fourth week, the war in Ukraine has seen 44 attacks on medical facilities across the country, including buildings and warehouses, patients, staff and supply chain, resulting in 12 confirmed deaths, according to WHO data.

Push to access

Despite the dangers, the UN and its partners continue to promote humanitarian access.

“On delivery we have up to 100 tonnes supplied to Ukraine,” said Dr Habicht, speaking from Lviv, adding that “at least a third” was sent to healthcare facilities, including in the capital Kyiv.

Mariupol, Sumy, ‘extremely catastrophic’

United Nations refugee agency (UNHCR) described the situation in cities like Mariupol and Sumy as “extremely catastrophic, with residents facing severe and potentially fatal shortages of food, water and medicine“.

That assessment follows the bombing of a theater in Mariupol on Wednesday, which was targeted despite clearly visible print on the ground outside the building, suggesting that “Children” were sheltering inside. .

UNHCR spokesman Matthew Saltmarsh said in the eastern regions of the country, or so-called towers, the need “has become even more urgent”. “More than 200,000 people are currently without water in some localities in Donetsk oblast, while continuous shelling in the Luhansk region destroyed 80% of some localities, leaving 97,800 homes without power”.

In Odessa, UNHCR reports that authorities have appealed for assistance for general food assistance to cover the needs of the city’s 450,000 people, as well as medicine.

“As of March 17, a permanent consultation point on protective, legal and social issues is operating at the Odessa station, where 600 to 800 individuals transit daily en route from Mykolaiv, to the western turrets of Ukraine,” the agency reported.

More than 3.2 million refugees

Based on UNHCRMore than 3.2 million people have now left Ukraine, and millions more are internally displaced, some of the 13 million people hardest hit by the war.

Ukrainian refugees living in temporary accommodation in Krowica Sama.

© WHO / Agata Grzybowska / RATS Agency

Ukrainian refugees living in temporary accommodation in Krowica Sama.

Those who have left Ukraine have found shelter in Poland, Slovakia, Hungary, Romania, Moldova, Russia and, to a much lesser extent, Belarus. 90% are women and children and 162,000 are third country nationals.

They don’t have a plan when they come,” said Mr. Saltmarsh. “A lot of those in the early stages may already have friends, community networks, contacts, a loved one that they can come and stay with initially, and then plan from there. there. It’s been happening less often lately. ”

To combat the risk of being taken advantage of by these vulnerable newcomers, UNHCR and UNICEF established safe spaces called “Blue Dots” in six countries: Czech Republic, Hungary, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia.

Safe zone to repel traffickers

These establishments are “One-stop shops and safe spaces provide a minimal set of protection services for children, families and others with specific needs, support

existing services and government efforts,” explains UNHCR.

Also providing help to victims of conflict, the United Nations migration agency IOM said last year it had identified and supported more than 1,000 victims of human trafficking.

IOM spokesman Paul Dillon added that the hotline the agency has set up over the past nine days has so far received more than 10,000 phone calls, more than half of which related to concerns about health issues. trafficking.

IOM: Protected Web

“We are working with many of our partners in the field to ensure that these protective messages and the efforts being made at the border to keep people informed are structured in a structured way,” he said. rigid”.

Not just for those who are about to cross the border, but for border guards and volunteers working at these border points in the reception centers and indeed for IOM staff on the ground. ”

OCHA calls for safe passage of agreements

Jens Laerke from the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) urges both sides to engage in armed conflict”to agree on a mechanism of methods, true standard operating procedures down to the minute detail how such safe passages – either to move humanitarian supplies, or otherwise, to evacuate civilians – how that can be set”.

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