Situation Report
Emergency Response
Mykola is standing in his yard in village at the "contact line"
Mykola is standing in his yard in village at the "contact line". Photo: OCHA/A. Hetman

Humanitarian aid remains a lifeline for conflict-affected people in eastern Ukraine

The fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic has pushed 3.4 million people in need in eastern Ukraine into greater dependency on humanitarian assistance. In addition, the global health emergency has presented an unprecedented challenge to the humanitarian community in Ukraine, making the delivery of humanitarian aid ever more complicated. Despite these challenges, the UN and its humanitarian partners reached over 1.4 million people in need with the 2020 Humanitarian Response Plan for Ukraine – the highest number since 2016.

Humanitarian response in 2020

In 2020, humanitarian actors delivered assistance in areas of education, food, health, protection, shelter, and water, sanitation and hygiene. Most people were reached in the area of protection (72 per cent), with educational interventions reaching only 22 per cent of people targeted for assistance due to funding constraints and access restrictions.

Similar to years before, the distribution of assistance and provision of protection services remained geographically uneven, with around 1.2 million people reached in Government-controlled areas (GCA) and almost 270,000 people reached in non-Government-controlled areas (NGCA). While the number of people residing in NGCA who received assistance from the UN and its humanitarian partners during 2020 is significantly lower than GCA, it represents a significant increase of almost 80 per cent over the year before.

Insufficient access to people in need in areas beyond Government control, particularly after the introduction of COVID-19-related movement restrictions across the “contact line” on 22 March 2020, remained one of the major constraints preventing humanitarian actors from reaching more people. Overall, while the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the implementation of humanitarian programmes, the UN and humanitarian partners managed to quickly adapt to the fast-changing operational environment, including by incorporating the response to COVID-19 into the daily life-saving activities.

Donors’ support in 2020

The strong support of donors in 2020 allowed humanitarian actors to reach more people in need than the year before despite access challenges and other COVID-19-related constraints. In 2020, donors contributed over US$124 million (61 per cent), which is the highest level of funding since 2015 when $173 million out of the $316 million requirement was received (55 per cent). In addition, the Ukraine Humanitarian Fund established in 2019 attracted $9 million of additional funding, enabling a flexible humanitarian response, including to tackle the effects of COVID-19.

In 2021, 1.9 million people are targeted with assistance on both sides of the “contact line”. The continued strong support of donors is going to be critical for the UN and its humanitarian partners to sustain the effective humanitarian response and reach every man, woman and child in need with life-critical aid they count on.

You can access the 2021 Humanitarian Response Plan End-of-Year Report in English and Ukrainian here. The Russian version of the report is going to be available shortly.