Ukraine update UNHCR WHO 21 May 2024
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Edited News | UNHCR , WHO

Ukraine update UNHCR WHO 21 May 2024

Ukraine: humanitarian, health needs soar as Kharkiv hostilities intensify

The UN expressed new concerns on Tuesday over a rise in displacement and humanitarian needs in Ukraine’s northeastern Kharkiv region, amid “relentless”  Russian air and ground attacks.

UN refugee agency (UNHCR) spokesperson Shabia Mantoo told the Press in Geneva that in the past week, more than 10,300 people were evacuated from their villages in Kharkiv region’s border areas by Ukrainian authorities with the help of volunteers and humanitarian organizations. She stressed that the majority of the evacuees are “highly vulnerable” people – the elderly, people with low mobility or disabilities – who were not able to flee their homes earlier.

According to UN humanitarian affairs coordination office, OCHA, over 16,000 people are estimated to have fled the most affected localities in the Kharkiv region since 10 May, amid reports that Russian forces have made significant advances in recent days.

Ms. Mantoo expressed concern that conditions in Ukraine’s second largest city, Kharkiv, which already hosts some 200,000 internally displaced people, “could become even more difficult if the ground offensive and relentless aerial attacks continue”.

“This could force many people to leave Kharkiv for safety and survival, seeking protection elsewhere,” she said.

The UNHCR spokesperson highlighted the fact that attacks on energy infrastructure are “particularly critical” in Kharkiv, where the energy supply is already “well below standard capacity” and households suffer from power shortages.

Meanwhile, OCHA reported that the past three days have seen daily attacks in Kharkiv City resulting in “scores of civilian casualties including children”, according to local authorities on Sunday, “as well as an ambulance hit and a paramedic injured when two strikes reportedly impacted the same location in close succession”.

Speaking from Kyiv, UN World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Ukraine Dr. Jarno Habicht said that since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion in February 2022, “on average, 200 ambulances per year are damaged or destroyed in shelling attacks”.

“That is a tremendous loss, depriving the Ukrainian people of urgent care,” he insisted.

Overall, WHO has recorded more than 1,700 attacks on health in the country since February 2022, Dr. Habicht said.

The UN health agency representative added that some 10 million people in the country likely suffer from mental health conditions, while more than 20,000 amputations have been conducted since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion – “two areas [which] need support from many humanitarian and development partners, and in the long term”.

While the intensification in hostilities in the Kharkiv region has driven humanitarian needs up “exponentially”, Dr. Habicht also highlighted the need to “think medium term to get ready for the winter to come”.

To ensure Ukraine's health care system can “continue functioning amidst prolonged adversity”, WHO has begun installing heating units in hospitals, including in Chernihiv and Odesa in the coming days and weeks, Dr. Habicht said.

But addressing both immediate and medium-term needs and preparing the winter response has been a challenge due to a drop in humanitarian funding for Ukraine compared to the past two years.

According to OCHA, the UN’s $3.1 billion Humanitarian Needs and Response Plan for the country in 2024 remains only 23 per cent funded. UNHCR’s response in Ukraine and in neighbouring refugee-hosting countries is only 16 per cent funded, which, at the approach of the mid-year mark, is “abysmal”, Ms. Mantoo said.

- Ends -

 

STORY: Ukraine update: UNHCR – WHO

TRT: 2:09”

SOURCE: UNTV CH 

RESTRICTIONS: NONE 

LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS 

ASPECT RATIO: 16:9 

DATELINE: 21 MAY 2024 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND 

 

1. Exterior medium shot: UN flag alley  

2. Wide shot: speakers at the podium of the press conference 

3. SOUNDBITE (English) – Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): “In the past week, more than 10,300 people were evacuated from their villages in Kharkiv region’s border areas by Ukrainian authorities with the help of volunteers and humanitarian organizations. The majority of the evacuees, who had to escape their homes with only a few belongings, are already highly vulnerable and include mainly older people. There are also people with low mobility or disabilities who were not able to flee their homes earlier.

4. Wide lateral shot: Speakers at podium from behind; journalists in the press room

5. SOUNDBITE (English) – Shabia Mantoo, spokesperson, UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR): “UNHCR is concerned that conditions in Kharkiv – Ukraine’s second largest city, which is already hosting some 200,000 internally displaced people – could become even more difficult if the ground offensive and relentless aerial attacks continue. This could force many people to leave Kharkiv for safety and survival, seeking protection elsewhere.

6. Wide lateral shot: Speakers at podium from behind; journalists in the press room

7. SOUNDBITE (English) – Dr. Jarno Habicht, UN World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Ukraine:Since the start of Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, on average, 200 ambulances per year are damaged or destroyed in shelling attacks. That is a tremendous loss, depriving the Ukrainian people of urgent care.

8. Wide shot: Journalists in the press room  

9. SOUNDBITE (English) – Dr. Jarno Habicht, UN World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Ukraine:Ten million people are estimated to suffer from some sort of mental health conditions, and with more than 20,000 amputations conducted since Russian Federation’s full-scale invasion in 2022, these are two areas [which] need support from many humanitarian and development partners, and in the long term.

10. Wide lateral shot: Speaker on screen in the press room; journalists in the press room

11. SOUNDBITE (English) Dr. Jarno Habicht, UN World Health Organization (WHO) representative in Ukraine: “From one hand, we have attacks in Kharkiv, much more difficult situation than before, but at the same time we need to think medium term to get ready for the winter to come.”

12. Close shot: Journalists in the press room  

13. Medium shot: Journalists in the press room

14. Wide shot: Journalists, cameraman and people in the gallery of the press room.   

 


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