The ACCESS Consortium, a group of humanitarian non-governmental organizations, is renewing its commitment to serve conflict-affected communities in Eastern Ukraine in 2021. With € 4.3 million funding from the European Union, the Consortium will provide immediate support and humanitarian assistance to civilians living close to the line of contact.
The conflict in eastern Ukraine has affected 5.2 million people since 2014. As fighting continues for the seventh year in Donbas, an estimated 3.5 million children, women and men are in need of humanitarian assistance. While the world continues to mobilise against the COVID-19 pandemic, the public health situation has had severe implications on Eastern Ukraine’s population, leaving vulnerable groups behind.
The ACCESS Consortium has been delivering multi-sectoral humanitarian assistance to some of the most vulnerable people in government and non-government – controlled areas (NGCA) of eastern Ukraine since 2017, reaching over 260,000 people. With support from EU Humanitarian Aid (ECHO), the Consortium partners People in Need (PIN), ACTED in partnership with IMPACT Initiatives, Help Age International (HAI), Médicos del Mundo (MdM), and Right to Protection (R2P) will continue to provide critical humanitarian assistance and advocate for strengthened international support to ease the suffering of people living on both sides of the line of contact.
“The European Union and its Member States are the largest humanitarian donor to the crisis in eastern Ukraine. This funding is a tangible expression of our solidarity with the civilians in areas directly affected by the conflict,” said Samuel Marie-Fanon, head of the EU Humanitarian Aid office in Ukraine.
In 2020-2021, ACCESS partners will support over 77,000 direct and indirect beneficiaries and 179 institutions affected by the hostilities on both sides of the contact line through protection activities; health services including mental health and psychosocial support; water, sanitation and hygiene activities; shelter rehabilitation and winterization; humanitarian coordination and information management work; advocacy efforts at national and international levels; and multipurpose cash and vouchers to meet food and other basic needs. Some € 780,000 of the humanitarian funding made available by the EU will support the Consortium’s efforts to help the most vulnerable through the COVID-19 pandemic.
Over the years, the elderly, single-headed households with low income, people with disabilities, and children have faced increasing challenges. “More than half of the population of our village have fled. A lot of houses are abandoned and many are destroyed. Our house is completely damaged. We were forced to flee. Some people we know proposed us to live in the house of their relatives as they have left and worry about the empty house in the conflict zone. We agreed and moved in. We take care of the house and the garden. We like the new place, but we have no work and desperately miss our home. We appreciate support by humanitarian organisations in these difficult times,” says Valentyna, who was displaced from Hutir Vilnyi and is staying Zolote III with her husband, who has health issues.
In parallel, ACCESS will engage with over 250 organizations in Ukraine to improve the humanitarian response to and further raise awareness of the ongoing conflict. As in previous years, member organizations will support and shape the humanitarian response in Ukraine by producing evidence on needs, building synergies with other actors, and searching for ways to operationalize the humanitarian-development nexus. Member organizations will also continue to advocate with national and international decisionmakers to ensure that essential needs of the conflict- affected populations are met; movement of people and transport of goods is facilitated across the line of contact; and humanitarian assistance can reach those in need.