The United Nations and humanitarian partners today launched coordinated emergency appeals for a combined US$1.7 billion to urgently deliver humanitarian support to people in Ukraine and refugees in neighbouring countries.
The escalation of conflict has triggered an immediate and steep rise in humanitarian needs as essential supplies and services are disrupted and civilians flee the fighting.
The UN estimates that 12 million people inside Ukraine will need relief and protection, while more than 4 million Ukrainian refugees may need protection and assistance in neighbouring countries in the coming months.
UN humanitarian chief Martin Griffiths said: “Families with small children are hunkered down in basements and subway stations or running for their lives to the terrifying sound of explosions and wailing sirens. Casualty numbers are rising fast. This is the darkest hour for the people of Ukraine. We need to ramp up our response now to protect the lives and dignity of ordinary Ukrainians. We must respond with compassion and solidarity.”
The Flash Appeal asks for $1.1 billion to assist 6 million people inside Ukraine for an initial three months. The programme includes multipurpose cash assistance for the most vulnerable people, food assistance, water and sanitation, support to health care and education services, and shelter assistance to rebuild damaged homes. The plan also aims to deliver support to authorities to maintain and establish transit and reception centres for displaced people and prevent gender-based violence.
Aid groups will need safe and unimpeded access to all conflict-affected areas according to the core humanitarian principles of humanity, neutrality, impartiality and operational independence.
With more than half a million refugees having fled Ukraine to neighbouring countries in the past five days alone, and many more expected, support is also required to meet the critical needs of those seeking protection outside the country.
The UN High Commissioner for Refugees, Filippo Grandi, said: “We are looking at what could become Europe’s largest refugee crisis this century. While we have seen tremendous solidarity and hospitality from neighbouring countries in receiving refugees, including from local communities and private citizens, much more support will be needed to assist and protect new arrivals.”
An inter-agency Regional Refugee Response Plan (RRP) for the Ukraine situation asks for a preliminary $550.6 million to help refugees in Poland, the Republic of Moldova, Hungary, Romania and Slovakia, as well as in other countries in the region in order to help host countries provide shelter, emergency relief items, cash assistance, and mental health and psychosocial support to those who fled Ukraine, including people with specific needs, such as unaccompanied children.