Over the past 11 months, 30 United Nations inter-agency convoys have delivered crucial aid supply to the most vulnerable people in acute need across Ukraine. While several trucks reached areas close to the frontlines, the lack of safe access to Russian-held zones in Ukraine has prevented aid deliveries to the population there.
“A six-truck convoy reached the Donetsk region with water, medicine, emergency shelter material and other supplies to the town of Toretsk which is approximately 10 kilometres from the front line there”, said Jens Laerke, spokesperson for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). “The convoy also delivered trauma and emergency surgery supplies”, said Mr. Laerke while referring to the delivery on 31 January.
Approximately 15,0000 people out of the 75,000 residents who lived there before the war are still in that town and nearby communities.
The planning of the convoys, so OCHA, is a constant process, which is conditioned by the security on the ground which may allow or not a humanitarian aid delivery. Via a notification system the parties to the conflict are informed where the convoy intends to go and what material will be transported so that the fighting parties will adhere to their obligation under International Humanitarian Law so that humanitarian assisstance can reach those in need.
So far, the lack of safe access to Russian-held zones in Ukraine has prevented aid deliveries in these areas.
“A number of notifications, as I have mentioned before, has gone out to reach areas under the current control of the military of the Russian Federation”, said Mr. Laerke. “Up until today, none has been provided in the sense that we have not been given the adequate assurances of security to go to these areas”.
On 2 February (yesterday), five inter-agency trucks delivered medications, materials for emergency shelter repairs, tool kits and hygiene items to the Zaporizhzhia region in the south-east of the country. The tools for emergency repairs are urgently needed for the damaged homes to survive the harsh winter.
“Yesterday’s supplies are intended for people in the Huliaipole community, where around 3,000 people remain close to the front line”, OCHA’s spokesperson said. “They are exposed to regular shelling, and their access to basic services is disrupted. Since March last year, the residents here have had no electricity as the facilities were damaged by fighting and they cannot be repaired because the fighting continues”.
Mr. Laerke added that “yesterday, the convoy delivered medicines, including a pneumonia kit and hygiene items and that is particularly to support the most vulnerable people and that, when we speak about vulnerable people here, it is the elderly people with limited mobility and families with children”.
The supplies are provided by the International Organization for Migration (IOM), UNICEF, the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Representatives from local communities and volunteers help distributing directly to the people in need.