With the full-scale war in Ukraine about to enter its second year, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) today have jointly appealed for US$5.6 billion (€ 5.24 billion) to ease the plight of millions of people affected. The UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Martin Griffiths, and the UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, launched the appeal Wednesday in Geneva.
The Humanitarian Response Plan for Ukraine, bringing together more than 650 partners, the majority of them Ukrainian organizations, calls for $3.9 billion (€ 3.65 billion) to reach 11.1 million people with food, health care, cash and other life-saving assistance.
The Refugee Response Plan (RRP) for refugees from Ukraine appeals for $1.7 billion (€ 1.59 billion). The plan includes 10 refugee host countries, namely Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, with some 250 partners – more than half of whom are national partners. These funds will help 4.2 million Ukrainian refugees and communities in countries hosting them.
“Almost a year on, the war continues to cause death, destruction and displacement daily, and on a staggering scale,” said Martin Griffiths, the UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator.
“We will continue to prioritize assistance to people who need it most and to support local authorities and civil-society organizations, whose dedication has been inspiring,” he added. “We must do all we can to reach the hardest-to-reach communities, including those close to the front line. The suffering of the Ukrainian people is far from over – they continue to need international support.”
The humanitarian situation in Ukraine deteriorated rapidly in 2022, after the Russian Federation’s invasion escalated eight years of conflict in the east into a full-scale war. The devastation and destruction have been staggering, with some 40 per cent of Ukraine’s population now in need of humanitarian assistance and protection. At least 17.6 million people in Ukraine require humanitarian assistance this year. Among them are 5.5 million children.
The war has also forced many to flee Ukraine, resulting in a humanitarian crisis of a scale not witnessed in Europe for decades. The war in Ukraine has led to one of the two major displacement crises in the world - the other being the Syrian civil war - with more than 14.3 million people fleeing their homes. More than 7.8 million refugees have sought refuge in foreign countries. At least 6.5 million people are displaced within Ukraine.
“The response in host countries to the Ukraine emergency has been remarkable, with strong state leadership, an outpouring of solidarity by host communities as well as the extraordinary work done by civil society, particularly local NGOs, and refugee-led and community-based organizations,” said Filippo Grandi, UN High Commissioner for Refugees.
“Europe has proven capable of bold, collective action to help refugees”, Grandi added. “Refugees have not only been welcomed, but temporary protection arrangements have provided refugees with the right to work, access services and to be included in national systems. We must not, however, take this response, or the hospitality of host communities, for granted. Continued international support and solidary is needed, until refugees are able to return to their homes in safety and dignity, which must also remain a priority.”
Since the war began, humanitarian organizations in Ukraine have made every effort to scale up assistance to all regions of the country. Nearly 16 million people across Ukraine received aid and protection services in 2022, including areas outside Government control. Humanitarians also reached 6 million people with cash assistance, which also provided a boost to local economies.
Last year, RRP partners reached millions of refugees from Ukraine with protection and assistance, including over 1.1 million people who received support in accessing protection as well as over 609,000 children who benefited from child protection services. Almost 1 million refugees received in-kind support and over 885,000 people received urgent cash assistance to cover their basic needs.
In 2023, joint efforts and continued support to both response plans will enable partners inside Ukraine and refugee host countries to reach millions of people with protection services. This includes mental health and psychosocial support, child protection and gender-based violence prevention and response, shelter support, supplies for basic needs, and cash assistance.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has created one of the largest humanitarian disasters globally. Violations of international humanitarian law and international human rights law occurring in the course of the ongoing armed attack are widespread. Millions of civilians fear for their lives. People in Ukraine continue to be killed, wounded and deeply traumatized by the violence.
Since Russian forces attacked Ukraine on February 24, 2022, the Office of the U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights has recorded 18,955 civilian casualties, including 7,199 killed and 11,756 injured — among them many women and children. However, when it released the latest estimates Monday, the UN Human Rights Office noted that “OHCHR believes that the actual figures are considerably higher.”
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs coordinates the work of non-governmental organizations and other national and international actors in humanitarian emergencies. It is the principal international player on humanitarian assistance issues.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees is a United Nations agency mandated to assist and protect refugees, displaced persons and stateless people. The organization is known by its short name UN Refugee Agency. UNHCR was established by the United Nations General Assembly on December 14, 1950, to provide assistance to refugees from World War II. On January 1, 1951, the UNHCR began its work. Each year, the UN Refugee Agency helps millions of refugees and displaced persons worldwide. UNHCR is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland, and has offices in 134 countries.
Full text: Ukraine: Humanitarian Response Plan, OCHA, published February 15, 2023
Full text: Ukraine Situation Regional Refugee Response Plan, UNHCR, published February 15, 2023