The United Nations World Food Programme (WFP) will continue to support 220,000 food-insecure people in conflict-affected areas of eastern Ukraine throughout 2017, while gradually supporting efforts for early recovery.
Nearly three years after the start of the conflict, the security situation in eastern Ukraine remains tense. An estimated 3.1 million people are in need of humanitarian assistance, and communities across Ukraine continue to experience the negative consequences of the conflict. Exchanges of fire and shelling in many hot-spot locations along the contact line continue to threaten the lives of many civilians and exacerbate their suffering.
“The situation is becoming even worse as prices are increasing quite rapidly compared to incomes, which limits families’ ability to afford the food they need,” said WFP Representative in Ukraine Dorte Ellehammer. “Food prices are increasing at a time when household incomes are impacted by unemployment, and we see many families resorting to negative coping strategies in the face of economic hardship.”
In 2017, WFP will continue to distribute food assistance to 70,000 of the most vulnerable people, based on the severity of needs. WFP aims to target elderly people, families headed by single mothers, people with chronic illnesses or disabilities, along with those who are not receiving any other form of humanitarian assistance. As the conflict has continued, many Ukrainians have become more vulnerable due to the lack of sufficient social benefits to cover food and other living expenses.
WFP will continue to scale up the use of cash-based transfers where possible, depending on availability of financial institutions and market conditions.
During spring and summer, WFP and its partners will implement small-scale early recovery projects aimed at enhancing local livelihoods, increasing incomes, diversifying crops, and rehabilitating productive assets.
“Without medium- and long-term interventions, more people would require humanitarian assistance in the months and years to come,” said Ellehammer.
Up to 150,000 people identified as moderately food-insecure, meaning they struggle to find or buy enough food on a daily basis to lead a healthy life, will be engaged in food-for-training and food-for-assets activities, which will be tailored to the local context and based on available funding.
Since November 2014, WFP has provided emergency food assistance to internally displaced people, returnees and residents in eastern Ukraine, distributing monthly food packages and food assistance through cash-based transfers or vouchers. To date, nearly 850,000 of the most vulnerable conflict-affected people have received food from WFP, in spite of the ongoing conflict and a volatile security situation that has restricted humanitarian staff movement.
“WFP is grateful to donors that have contributed or pledged support to the people of Ukraine this year, particularly the Governments of Germany and Italy, which were the first to contribute,” added Ellehammer.
Germany and Italy have contributed €3 million (US$3.2 million) and €0.7 million (US$0.8 million) to WFP in Ukraine, respectively.
WFP urgently needs more than US$30 million to provide much-needed food assistance in eastern Ukraine until December 2017.