Ukraine: Thousands most affected by conflict receive aid on both sides of front line

23 September 2015

Kiev/Donetsk (ICRC) – A new round of aid distributions is being carried out by the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on both sides of the front line and will continue until Friday 25 September. The aid includes food, personal hygiene items and tarpaulins for more than 5,000 people living in two locations close to the front line in opposition-held territory and two nearby towns under government control. A ceasefire which has now held for some weeks has brought welcome respite to people in front-line areas and helped to make such an operation possible.

In Olexandrovka and Staromikhailovka, two small towns in the area under the control of the opposition on the outskirts of Donetsk city, the aid was transported in from the ICRC's office in Donetsk on 23 September. "By focusing on the most vulnerable areas, the ICRC is reaching the people worst affected and providing support to the local administration, who are facing a major challenge as they try to restore some sense of normal life in their communities," said Dena Fisher, head of the ICRC office in Donetsk.

"People have lost their homes and livelihoods and winter is approaching fast. We have to scale up our operations. With the arrival yesterday of 16 trucks filled mainly with hygiene kits, food and construction materials to restock our Donetsk warehouse, we hope that we will be able to continue providing relief to the population in the coming days," she added.

In parallel, the ICRC has also carried out distributions in Mariinka and Krasnogorovka, in the area under the control of the Ukrainian authorities."These towns have been subject to destruction since the start of the conflict and suffered interruptions to the water, gas and electricity supply. We have brought much-needed food and hygiene items from Mariupol for around 3,500 of the most vulnerable residents in Krasnogorovka," said Tasha Rumley, an ICRC delegate based in Mariupol. "Last week more than 2000 residents of Mariinka received food and other humanitarian supplies."

This humanitarian operation is taking place in close coordination with all parties concerned, as well as the Joint Center for Control and Coordination (JCCC) and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Special Monitoring Mission to Ukraine.

ICRC engineers are assessing the damage to the water supply system and the gas distribution network in order to carry out repairs. In addition to providing construction materials to the local population, the ICRC is preparing to help rebuild schools and hospitals damaged by shelling.

Together with Ukrainian Red Cross volunteers, the ICRC is also set to organize training for teachers and other residents of Mariinka and Krasnogorovka about the risks related to mines and other unexploded ordnance.

For further information, please contact:

Ashot Astabatsyan, ICRC Kiev, tel: +380 67 509 42 06
Sanela Bajrambasic, ICRC Donetsk, tel: +38 050 315 04 60