UN appeals for $5.6 billion for aid to Ukraine in 2023
Citizens receive food aid distributed by volunteers near the Dnipro River as Russia-Ukraine war continues in Kherson, Ukraine on February 13, 2023. Curfew starts at 7PM since the authorities ordered a curfew and restricted entry and exit from the city as the Russian-Ukrainian war continues. Citizens go out to get food aid and to meet their needs, but the streets of the city are often empty. Jose Colon / Anadolu Agency (Photo by JOSE COLON / ANADOLU AGENCY / Anadolu Agency via AFP)
(AFP) - The United Nations said Wednesday that $5.6 billion was needed to provide humanitarian aid in Ukraine and to the millions who have fled the war-ravaged country.
Nearly a year after Moscow launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the UN estimated that 21.8 million Ukrainians were now in need of humanitarian assistance.
"The war continues to cause death, destruction and displacement daily, and on a staggering scale," UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said in a statement.
"We must do all we can to reach the hardest-to-reach communities, including those close to the front line," he said.
"The suffering of the Ukrainian people is far from over – they continue to need international support."
The needs are so great that aid organisations cannot reach everyone, but the UN said the requested $5.6 billion would allow it to reach the 15.3 million people in most dire need this year.
A full $1.7 billion of that amount was needed for assistance to the more than four million Ukrainian refugees hosted across eastern Europe, it said.
Most of that would go to Poland, which is hosting more than 1.5 million Ukrainian refugees, and Moldova, the main transit country for Ukrainians making their way further into Europe.
Women and children account for around 86 percent of the overall refugee population, according to the UN.
"Europe has proven capable of bold, collective action to help refugees," UN refugee chief Filippo Grandi said in the statement.
"We must not, however, take this response, or the hospitality of host communities, for granted," he said.
"Continued international support and solidarity 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 organisations in Ukraine have been working to reach people across the country, with nearly 16 million receiving aid and protection services in 2022, including in areas outside of the Ukrainian government's control.
Inside Ukraine, "the war has profoundly affected access to livelihoods and disrupted market stability particularly in southern and eastern oblasts, further aggravating humanitarian suffering," the appeal said.
It warned that "a majority of Ukrainians have reportedly reduced food consumption and spent savings," pointing to soaring unemployment, skyrocketing inflation and inadequate social assistance.
And while food and other necessary items were still widely available in most areas under the control of the Ukrainian government, it cautioned that such items were "difficult for many people to afford without cash, voucher, or livelihood assistance."
And they "are much more difficult to obtain in areas experiencing constant bombardment," it said, highlighting the "systematic destruction of civilian infrastructure throughout the war."
© Agence France-Presse