GENEVA, SWITZERLAND - The International Organization for Migration is appealing for $38 million to aid 340,000 conflict-affected people in Ukraine. That is a 50 percent increase over the number of people the agency has been assisting since Russian-backed rebels in Eastern Ukraine began fighting for a separate state four years ago.
Millions of people continue to suffer from acute humanitarian needs brought on by Ukraine’s conflict. U.N. Migration spokesman Joel Millman said it is important to remember the heavy toll the low-intensity conflict is taking on the lives of people in the impoverished country.
“Since April 2014, over 10,000 people have been killed in the fighting in eastern Ukraine and a further 24,000 have been injured. In total, 3.4 million people require humanitarian assistance. According to the Ukraine’s Ministry of Social Policy, about 1.5 million people are registered as internally displaced persons,” he said.
Millman said the most pressing needs are for health care, food, water and employment. He said 1.2 million conflict-affected people in Ukraine are going hungry. He added more than three million people do not have enough water for drinking, cooking and washing in the worst-affected eastern rebel-controlled territory.
“There is a critical need for infrastructure and psycho-social assistance. We have also noted that the ongoing unrest has provoked an increase in human trafficking... Last year, we assisted over 1,200 victims of trafficking, nearly all of whom were trafficked and exploited during the years of the conflict. The true numbers may be even higher,” said Millman.
The IOM plans to provide humanitarian relief, including water, health and sanitation, to people on both sides of the contact line, which divides eastern Ukraine from the rest of the country. It says it also plans to support people who have been uprooted by the conflict and their host communities by providing business training and grants.