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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

UN relief wing spotlights deteriorating health situation for conflict-affected Ukrainians

7 April 2015 – The deteriorating health situation for internally displaced and others impacted by the conflict in Ukraine has drawn the serious concern of the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), a UN spokesperson reported today.

According to Stéphane Dujarric, Spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General, at the end of March, the Ukraine Ministry of Social Protection reported that there were nearly 1.2 million registered internally displaced persons (IDPs) across the country. However, difficulties in verifying residence procedures for them are affecting their ability to access to social services.

OCHA said there is a high incidence of cardio-vascular disease, mental health and acute respiratory infections. Reportedly, cases of malnutrition and acute diarrhoea are also increasing in non-government controlled areas.

The pressure on schools to accommodate displaced children is increasing because of limited number of available teachers and premises, added Mr. Dujarric.

Further, OCHA underscored the urgent need for mine risk education as well and humanitarian demining as mines and other unexploded ordnance are increasingly resulting in loss of life. The UN Children's Fund (UNICEF) highlights that at least 109 children have been injured and 42 killed by landmines and unexploded ordnance in Donetsk and Luhansk oblasts since March 2014.

Meanwhile, he said the UN refugee agency (UNHCR) has reported that as of 2 April, the total number of Ukrainians who have sought asylum, residence permits or other forms of legal stay in neighbouring countries has reached 777,000, with the vast majority of them in Russia.

Despite the great needs, funding for humanitarian operations remains very low, with only 18 per cent of the $316 million required for 2015 having been funded or even pledged so far.

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