EMERGENCY aid is needed for at least two million people in rebel-held areas of eastern Ukraine, and for a further 2.2 million displaced from their homes by the conflict, charities have warned.
Some of those who fled to neighbouring countries, including Russia, during the conflict, are now returning home to find that their homes and communities have been devastated.
The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) has sent its first convoy of aid in three months to the rebel-held communities around Luhansk. Basic relief items and construction materials to help 12,000 people were sent last week.
A spokesman for UNHCR said: “This is a small drop in the ocean of needs we see in the conflict-affected areas. However, with winter approaching, we hope to speed up dispatch of humanitarian assistance for most vulnerable civilians living in the conflict affected areas.”
The Christian charity Mission Without Borders is also working in Ukraine, and has sent 40 tonnes of emergency food, clothing, and roofing materials to eastern communities, to help them begin to rebuild homes and villages.
Its national manager in Ukraine, Mykola Bohdanets, said: “While many refugees are now returning to their homes, they are discovering that many of them are in ruins. . . In this respect, support from the government, and NGOs like Mission Without Borders, is needed now more than ever.”
The ceasefire between pro-Russian rebels and Ukrainian forces continues to hold, despite daily violations.