United Nations seeks $4.2 billion to help people in Ukraine and refugees this year
BERLIN (AP) — The United Nations (UN) appealed on Monday for $4.2 billion to help people in Ukraine and displaced outside the country this year, saying that people on the front lines have “exhausted their meagre resources” and many refugees also are vulnerable.
About three-quarters of the total, $3.1 billion, is meant to support some 8.5 million people inside Ukraine. The remaining $1.1 billion is sought for refugees and host communities outside Ukraine.
A recent wave of attacks “underscores the devastating civilian cost of the war” and a bitter winter is increasing the need for humanitarian aid, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and the UN refugee agency said in a statement from Geneva.
“In front-line towns and villages, people have exhausted their meagre resources and rely on aid to survive,” it said.
Ukraine has been subjected to massive Russian barrages recently. More than 500 drones and missiles were fired between December 29 and January 2, according to officials in Kyiv.
Nearly two years after Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the UN said 14.6 million people in the country need humanitarian help, while around 6.3 million have fled Ukraine and remain refugees.
“Hundreds of thousands of children live in communities on the front lines of the war, terrified, traumatised and deprived of their basic needs. That fact alone should compel us to do everything we can to bring more humanitarian assistance to Ukraine,” said Martin Griffiths, the UN’s humanitarian chief.
“Homes, schools and hospitals are repeatedly hit, as are water, gas and power systems,” he added. “The very fabric of society is under attack with devastating consequences.”
The UN said that Ukrainian refugees in neighbouring countries “also need increased and sustained support.” It said that only half of school-age refugee children are enrolled in schools where they are now, only 40 to 60 per cent are employed and “many remain vulnerable with no means to support themselves.”
Griffiths said donors covered 67 per cent of last year’s appeal for $3.9 billion for people inside Ukraine, one of the best levels in the world. He acknowledged that “the competition for funding is getting greater” because of crises elsewhere, including the war in Gaza.
“Amid everything else happening across the globe, we must stay the course for the people of Ukraine,” Griffiths told reporters. “And it is a very sad reminder that today we’re begging for attention for Ukraine when for so many days and weeks and months of previous years, we’ve had … attention to Ukraine and we’ve begged for attention for places elsewhere,” such as Sudan.