Abuja (Sundiata Post) – The Resident Coordinator for the UN in Ukraine, Ms Denise Brown, has appealed for access for humanitarians to deliver relief items across contact line in Ukraine.
Brown made the call while speaking from Kharkiv in northeast Ukraine to reporters in Geneva on Friday.
“Winter is coming, and all we want to do is provide insulin to the hospitals, provide blankets, provide mattresses…it’s not complicated,” she said.
She is currently on a three-day mission to eastern and central Ukraine (Kryivyi Rih, Kharkiv and Dnipro) to assess the humanitarian situation first-hand.
Brown told reporters that the UN was “constantly negotiating” for access, “up and down” the line that divides those fighting the war stemming from Russia’s invasion on Feb. 24, in the south and east.
The official also said that she had no way of confirming what relief items, “if anything”, Russia had reportedly sent to non-government-controlled areas. Aid organisations “just have no reliable way of crossing the frontline”.
But Brown said that she was hopeful that the Russian Federation would provide the required security guarantees to go across.
So far they have “reached less than a million people in the non-government controlled areas”, warning that “if farmers can’t reach their land, that’s going to have a huge impact on their economic situation”.
The UN aid coordinator also warned that winter was fast approaching in Ukraine and that she did not believe that vulnerable communities in the east and south had what they needed to survive.
Six months since Russia’s invasion, nearly 18 million people, around 40 per cent of the country’s entire population, need humanitarian aid.
Many elderly people were living in damaged houses and the lack of access to gas or electricity in large parts of the east could be a matter of life or death if people could not heat their homes.
On a positive note, the Humanitarian Coordinator pointed out that the war had not prevented the humanitarian community from delivering.
“Since the start of the war, we’ve reached over 12 million people,” providing “cash transfers, health care, shelter… access to clean water, protection, rehabilitation”.
Agricultural production is also “now finally moving” due to the UN-brokered Black Sea Grain initiative.
This “will have an impact on families, on farmers and their communities and on the food insecure, particularly in the Horn of Africa right now,” she added.