UN refugee agency delivers aid to non-government controlled area in Ukraine for first time in weeks
1 September 2015 – The United Nations refugee agency announced today that it managed to deliver humanitarian aid to non-Government-controlled areas in eastern Ukraine for the first time in several weeks, including to Horvlika and other nearby areas north of Donetsk, which experienced heavy fighting in August.
Since the start of the conflict in 2014, the UN estimates that 40 per cent of the population has left, and according to local authorities only 150,000 out of 250,000 people remain there, said the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR).
“This past weekend, 13 UNHCR trucks carrying 260 metric tons of shelter materials and basic relief items travelled with support from the World Food Programme and partners,” said agency spokesperson Adrian Edwards, at the regular press briefing in Geneva.
The delivery also included reinforced plastic sheets, timber, plywood, roofing sheets, cement and other construction materials for acute and medium repairs.
Despite a ceasefire agreement signed in February 2015, fighting since the beginning of August around Horvlika has reportedly caused damage to residential areas and forced local residents to retreat into the basements of their ruined homes.
“More than 1,200 private houses were destroyed by shelling in Horlivka,” Mr. Edwards continued, “and many families’ homes have been left without roofs, windows or walls.”
According to local authorities, over 260 multi-storey buildings were damaged, including 17 hospitals and 82 schools and kindergartens. Six road bridges and nearly a quarter of the city’s heating facilities were also affected. As a result, there are reported disruptions in the provision of electricity and water.
UNHCR explained that the humanitarian and shelter goods which were delivered will provide over 5,000 families with material for emergency repairs. Another 110 households will receive shelter materials for light and medium repairs. Over 3,000 beneficiaries will be provided with basic relief items such as blankets, bed linen and towels.
The distribution to the affected civilian population will be organized in the next ten days under the supervision of the UNHCR partner ‘People in Need.’
In the past week, UNHCR also delivered assistance to over 1,500 people in Government-controlled areas. In particular, basic relief items were distributed to some 800 people in the area of Mariupol in the southern part of the Donetsk region.
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