As humanitarian needs escalate rapidly in Ukraine, the United Nations humanitarian chief, Martin Griffiths, allocated US$40 million from the Central Emergency Response Fund (CERF) to ramp up aid agencies’ efforts to reach the most vulnerable people.
Almost 2 million people are forcibly displaced and on the move inside Ukraine. Many are unable to leave their homes because of heavy combat in cities such as Mariupol, Kharkiv and Kyiv. Twenty-four attacks on health-care facilities have been verified by the World Health Organization.
“Faced with this grim and escalating crisis, we are mobilizing a massive relief effort,” said Mr. Griffiths. “These funds are critical to get operations off the ground immediately. In the early days of our response, fast and flexible funding can make all the difference.” The CERF funding will help provide life-saving health services, food and shelter to Ukrainians, and support flexible ways to get cash to people in need.
UN agencies have already sent in food and urgent medical supplies to Kyiv and other cities, working through networks of bakeries, shops and health facilities to get supplies in. Where markets are functioning, aid agencies are supporting internally displaced people with cash at reception centres in western Ukraine.
The UN is deploying staff to the conflict-affected east, to operational hubs and warehouses to get food and medicines closer to those in need. The injection of CERF funds also supports programmes for the most vulnerable people, including women-headed families, people with disabilities and the chronically ill.
This is the second allocation since the rapid increase in hostilities in Ukraine. A $20 million injection of funds was announced on 24 February, and a humanitarian system-wide scale-up to ease the suffering of the people of Ukraine has been launched.
A Flash Appeal for Ukraine was launched on 1 March in Geneva. It requires $1.1 billion in immediate funding to support 6 million of the most vulnerable people in Ukraine. Donors responded with significant initial pledges. Donors have reported $219 million in funding for the appeal, or 19 per cent of the requested amount.
Since its establishment 16 years ago, CERF has been one of the fastest mechanisms for providing emergency funding to people in need. The UN thanks the more than 130 Member States and observers, as well as other donors, including private individuals, who have supported the Fund through the years.